Vendee Globe - 1130 - 1/2/01

Mark Chisnell reports on the string that ties together Ellen and Michel Desjoyeaux

Thursday February 1st 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Ellen MacArthur (light blue) and Michel Desjoyeaux (red) continue their progress up the North Atlantic, glued together - in the last 24 hours Desjoyeaux first lost a mile, then took a couple back. Basically, there's nothing in it as they race north, upwind through the trades Ellen following in the leader's tracks. As Ellen commented to the Race Office last night, "Well it's very much the ’autoroute’, we’re bouncing along upwind, trying to make our way north, in a moderate and warm breeze, typical for the trade winds."
Ellen did have an explanation for the miles she lost the day before, "Mich (Desjoyeaux) has crept away a little on me in the past 24 hours but I expected that as the wind switched further to the east, and he probably touched that first by quite a few hours - that meant he’s been able to head more to the north where we want to go rather than to the north-west which is where we were heading before." In other words, Desjoyeaux got a lifting wind shift first.

Fleet at 0400, 1/2/01

There's been more action behind them though, as Roland Jourdain (dark blue) has returned to the third place he gave up during his repair stop at Cape Horn. A 36 mile gain on Marc Thiercelin (light brown) has put Jourdain ten miles in front this morning. Positioned to the west, Jourdain barely stopped through the Doldrums, while Thiercelin is still struggling. It's not been as bad for Thiercelin as the leaders whose tracks he is following, but he was still a knot slower than the three boats in front of him this morning.

Weather at 0400, 1/2/01

Looking at the bigger weather picture (above), there's at least another 24 hours of the same again. The Azores High is still well established, the trade winds still blowing. Both MacArthur and Desjoyeaux have good upwind boatspeed, and they should grind out a few more miles on the chasing pair in the next day or two. Ellen was about 300 miles ahead of Jourdain this morning.
continued on page two

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

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