Vendee Globe - 1430 - 27/12/00
Desjoyeaux has been the first to overtake and break into the strong north-westerlys in front of the centre, "Now PRB is heeling nicely again. Getting to the limit with 40 - 50 knots coming across the deck. I have a few difficult hours ahead and will savour the distances in the rankings at another moment. The distances were to my advantage, but with the little low pressure system that we’re in, I’m only going to be able to push out more mileage on the others when I’m ahead of it.
"I have three reefs in the main and the small staysail. There’s 38, 39 and even 51, 52 knots, so I was glad to have anticipated this blow ... Bilou’s (Jourdain) speed has let me get into a better position relative to the centre of the depression and the no wind zone. The passage underneath New Zealand is going to be tricky, with several tiny depressions to negotiate."
But Jourdain remained cheerful enough, "It’s not great as I am in the center of a low pressure, and it’s not brilliant. It’s changing a lot: the sky doesn’t look good, neither does the sea. After the rain, will come the sun! We are not going very fast, and it’s not smooth! I have around 20 knots of wind, and it’s been moving a lot in the past 24 hours. You have to stay concentrated. I didn’t expect this center to arrive on me. Mich (Desjoyeaux) slipped under it or was ahead. Maybe at some point he will slow down as well. But anyway he’s faster than I am at the moment. I took too many holidays for Xmas!"
But that low pressure hasn't finished with the leaders yet, and the centre is forecast to expand eastwards and may still slow Michel Desjoyeaux. Meanwhile, the leader is making hay while the sun shines, romping along six or seven knots faster than Jourdain at the last position report and opening up a 165 mile lead. Not bad when you consider that Jourdain was ahead of him four days ago.
Plenty more weather action coming up to stir the pot again though - that big low pressure system that they are currently dealing with is forecast to drop south and release them all into strong westerly breeze. But on the forecast for Friday morning (above), we can see a small depression forming off the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. This is expected to move south into the path of the fleet over the weekend. Desjoyeaux will need to tread carefully through this minefield to hold his advantage.
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 (0900 GMT except where stated, Wednesday 27/12, with Distances to Finish from Race Office)
1 PRB (Desjoyeaux) (at 09:23 GMT) 54.25S 171.2E 11110 nm
2 SILL Matines La Potagère (Jourdain) (at 09:57 GMT) 53.3S 167E +165 nm
3 Kingfisher (MacArthur) 54.1S 161E +343 nm
4 Active Wear (Thiercelin) (at 10:01 GMT) 51.6S 156.4E +551 nm
5 Sodebo (Coville) 54.5S 153.4E +565 nm
6 Union Bancaire Privée (Wavre) 54.1S 146.2E +818 nm
7 Whirlpool (Chabaud) 52.3S 144E +935 nm
8 Solidaires (Dubois) (at 10:00 GMT) 51.1S 144.2E +974 nm
9 EBP EspritPME Gartmore (Hall) (at 10:02 GMT) 50.3S 136.3E +1252 nm
10 Aquitaine Innovations (Parlier) (at 10:00 GMT) 52.2S 126.5E +1512 nm
11 Voila.fr (Gallay) (at 10:00 GMT) 49.5S 122.5E +1717 nm
12 VM Matériaux (Carpentier) (at 10:00 GMT) 49.6S 120.6E +1775 nm
15 Team Group 4 (Golding) (at 10:00 GMT) 47.2S 92.5E +2800 nm