Monday, January 19, 2009

Vendée Globe: Michel Desjoyeaux enters the doldrums

[Source: Vendée Globe] His drop in speed gives it away but so to the forecasters at Meteo France confirm this morning that Michel Desjoyeaux is officially into the Doldrums, some 24 hours earlier than expected. The ICTZ, the Doldrums are big, wide and active.

Bigger squalls interspersed with unsettled, light winds are now spread over a north-south band some 400 miles wide.

There are two things which might happen for the leader, neither is in his favour.

Video highlights from day 61 of the Vendée Globe. 19 January 2009. Video copyright Vendée Globe

The first is that they will contract with him, so simply sliding back to the north with Foncia and so Jourdain’s benefit may be augmented, or they stay just as wide and as active and catch Bilou earlier.

Foncia has slowed to 7.7 knots now and the advantage, such as it is, has swung back to Jourdain who has regained 37 miles since last night. Foncia still 462.5 miles ahead with 3351 miles to go.

For Veolia Environnment the trade winds have always been lighter, some 7-8 knots less in wind speed, and so Jourdain has always been destined to lose out on this stretch.

In third, BritAir and skipper Armel Le Cléac’h has been in these lighter trades too, also going less than 10 knots this morning. He is over 1000 miles behind Foncia, and 634.5 miles behind Jourdain.

The Cape Horn Trio still have good speed at the moment, in good breeze but they are approaching the high pressure and will start to slow in less than 24 hours. That’s bad news for Brian Thompson because his lead over Arnaud is just 71 miles, though he has gained three miles this morning and has been making 14 knots of boat speed to Calli’s 11.4. In turn Dee Caffari is on fire, is just 2.2 miles behind Boissières. She promised to try and show the boys how its done, and she is doing a good job today.

Steve White has a cold front to deal with as he heads to Cape Horn, 35knots of NW’ly wind and has just 136 miles to go to the Horn, he should get there between 10 and midnight GMT.

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