Vendee Globe - 1230 - 4/12/00

Mark Chisnell reports as the leaders look to make a decisive break away

Monday December 4th 2000, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
It's all on in the Vendee Globe after a tumultuous weekend. The weather has developed much as we expected last Friday, and as the high pressure rolled out across the South Atlantic, Michel Desjoyeaux (red) played it a little better and closed to within ten miles of long-time leader Yves Parlier (green). But as the incoming low pressure built behind them, Parlier got going first and skipped clear of the light air to restore his advantage to a respectable 70 odd miles. As we can see from the image below, the pair have both adjusted to an east-south-easterly course - after their earlier frantic dash south - and Desjoyeaux trails in Parlier's wake.

Fleet at 0400, 4/12/00

Behind them it's all happening and the real big loser is Catherine Chabaud (yellow). Like Icarus and the sun, she flew too close to the centre of the South Atlantic High - and has had her wings seriously melted. Swallowed up by the chasing pack, she is now back in eighth place, and with most of her close competition positioned further south, there could easily be more losses to come. There are only 64 nm miles separating fifth from tenth, and any error will be costly on the rankings.

While Roland Jourdain still leads the chase after the front pair (royal blue), just keeping her nose in front of this pack is Ellen MacArthur (light blue) in Kingfisher, still in fourth place and sixty miles clear of Thomas Coville (orange) in fifth on the Race Office rankings. This gap would be smaller were it not for Coville's altercation with a whale over the weekend - it broke his steering gear and forced Coville to stop the boat and dive on a tether to check the hull and foils underwater. But he gave it a clean bill of health and is still very much in the race. Less fortunate was Raphael Dinelli, who also hit a whale, and is now headed for Cape Town for repairs to his keel.

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