Vendee Globe - 1130 - 5/1/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Ellen goes back into second

Friday January 5th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Ellen MacArthur is right back in the game - the gybe north we talked about yesterday gave her some relief from the iceberg worry she had experienced the day before, and seems to have given her the opportunity for some proper rest - she's back in front of Roland Jourdain for that second place this morning.

In contrast, Jourdain may be paying the price for pushing too hard to get south, and spent too much time worrying about ice and not enough about the weather - it looks like he's missed a strategic trick.

Fleet at 0500, 5/1/01

This morning's Virtual Spectator fleet map (above) has Jourdain (dark blue) pounding a lonely southern track. Michel Desjoyeaux (red) has not reported in since yesterday afternoon - almost certainly related to his electrical power problems - but along with Ellen (light blue) and Marc Thiercelin (light brown) appears to have put in the gybes to position a little further north. And the reason is clear, Jourdain is perilously close to dropping through the centre of the low pressure to his south, where light air and then headwinds lie waiting.

Ellen has already gained back everything she lost in the previous 24 hours, and looks set to get more miles from Jourdain until - if - he can get back in the breeze. But Marc Thiercelin is also on a charge, and he's taken miles out of everyone in the last 24 hours. Right now, this is very definitely a four boat race.

Weather at 0500, 5/1/01
But we can see from the bigger weather image (above) just how much trouble Jourdain could be in. The main low pressure system is forecast to keep going east until it bangs up against the Andes, then it should slowly tighten into a more circular shape, leaving behind a vortex of weak, small depressions and little breeze. The first of that is already visible above. This is what those that get left behind by this system will have to deal with, and it's unlikely to be fast.

Map images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to the VS site.

continued on page 2

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