Vendee Globe - 1300 - 16/11/00
It's remained an extraordinarily tight race at the front of the Vendee Globe, with Thomas Coville aboard Sodebo moving up to second overnight on both the Race Office and Virtual Spectator rankings. Coville (orange) was fifth at the virtual gateway just north of the Canary Islands, then took port gybe in the north-easterly breeze away from the Canaries and towards the African coast.
Dominique Wavre (brown) has followed him - apparently unperturbed by the losses he made taking a more westerly route than the rest of the fleet down to the Canaries, Wavre is now out to the east, banging the other corner - conservative, he's not. Marc Thiercelin (light brown) is the next furthest east, while the rest of the front runners, Parlier (green), MacArthur (light blue) and Dubois (purple) are following leader Michel Desjoyeaux (red).
Some of Coville's gain may be illusory - he's sailing closer to the rhumbline course and so will have gained in relation to the distance to the finish, whether he's made a bankable long term gain remains to be seen. It's all about the Doldrums right now. They will all be pounding away at keyboards and staring at weather maps as they try to figure out the best option for a crossing point.
It's not just about finding the thinnest section of the Doldrums either, but also about what happens the other side. Between them and the left turn into the Southern Ocean at Cape Town is the South Atlantic High - the brother of the Azores High - they will also want to exit the Doldrums with a fast course that will take them around this high pressure area and its light air. Ellen reckoned that 30W was looking pretty good to her in a recent email, and she's following Michel Desjoyeaux's line. The way he's sailing so far, that can't be such a bad strategy.
Map images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to the VS site.
Please note that two different methods of calculating the Distance to Finish are being used, one by Virtual Spectator and one by the Vendee Globe Race Office, we will try to always make it clear which we are using!
Link to the madforsailing form guide.
Rankings (0700 GMT except where stated, Thursday 16/11, with Distances to Finish from Race Office)
1 PRB (Desjoyeaux) 22336
2 Sodebo (Coville) +44
3 Aquitaine Innovations (Parlier) +47
4 Active Wear (Thiercelin) +59
5 Kingfisher (MacArthur) +63
6 Solidaires (Dubois) +87
7 SILL Matines La Potagère (Jourdain) +92
8 Armor Lux Foies Gras Bizac (Stamm) +106
9 EBP EspritPME Gartmore (Hall) +139 - Nov 15 at 11:02
10 Union Bancaire Privée (Wavre) +152
11 Whirlpool (Chabaud) +188
12 Euroka Un univers de services (Dumont) +223
13 This Time Argos Soditic (Tolkien) +308