Vendee Globe - 1230 - 21/2/01

Mark Chisnell reports as the agony goes on for those still out there

Wednesday February 21st 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Whirlpool's shore team is riding to the rescue of the desperately unlucky Catherine Chabaud, two of them have set off for Vigo in north-west Spain where they will charter a boat. They will take out supplies of fuel so that she can continue to motor into port - last night at 1700 she was 171 miles away, but doing just 2.5 knots. The shore team are trucking spare parts down to Vigo to construct a jury rig from the boom, and will then sail the boat back to Les Sables.

Fleet at 0400, 21/2/01
After the arrival of fourth placed Marc Thiercelin yesterday, attention now turns to the frustration of Dominique Wavre (dark brown) in fifth, just 130 miles closer to the finish in the last 24 hours, but still about 70 miles ahead of the chasing Thomas Coville (orange). Wavre reported to the Race Office this morning, "Things aren’t that great. My boat speed is three knots - and the speed towards the finish is 1.7 knots. So I’m not in a great mood this morning.

"Right now the anticyclone is centred over me and we’ve come to a halt. I have 2.5 knots of wind and it’ll be like this all day. To be so close to arriving too, it just increases the bad feeling psychologically about tenfold. I stay at the helm, I am hunting down the finish line, searching for the slightest breeze. I don’t have it in me to do anything else but helm. I mustn’t complicate this persecution - if I just think about the finish my morale takes an automatic dive!

"I didn’t sleep at all last night. My nerves won’t let me rest. My bad mood is more down to my general fatigue. But I’m still together, okay. I really can’t make an ETA. You’ll have to look at the tarot cards for that! There’s no tactical option left. Thomas is going to get into the same situation as me. Everything we’re doing now is focused on just getting the boat moving forward and not stopping."
Weather at 1835, 22/2/01There's no help coming from the weather in the foreseeable future either - the high pressure is forecast to decline (right), weakening the breeze even further. And it's rooted to the spot out there in the Western Approaches, so no real change in the conditions for the two skippers in the Bay of Biscay. They are going to have to suffer for every mile. Even at the weekend there is still only a pretty weak northerly flow in the eastern Atlantic and no sign of a big low pressure to blow everyone home.

Conditions are better for Mike Golding (dark blue) and Josh Hall (light blue), both still on course for the finish. Josh Hall commented this morning, "Yesterday and today have been good after spending the previous 2 days putting money in the parking meter!!

"By being more east, Mike Golding didn't suffer this 48 hour becalming, so he has slipped away which is a shame for us, but I just couldn't get east as I wanted to a few days ago. We have 20 - 25 knots of east wind at the moment so I am on course for the finish at ten knots of boat speed. The weather files look quite good to get us up to the Azores for this weekend and the big high that has blocked the Biscay looks like it is declining, so hopefully we will have more favourable winds next week." Keep your fingers crossed Josh.
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 (0600 GMT except where stated, Wednesday 21/2/01, with Distances to Finish from Race Office)
1 PRB (Desjoyeaux) Arrive - 93d 3h 57m 32s
2 Kingfisher (MacArthur) Arrive - 94d 4h 25m 40s (+ 1d 0h 28m 8s)
3 SILL Matines La Potagère (Jourdain) Arrive - 96d 1h 2m 33s (+ 2d 22h 5m)
4 Active Wear (Thiercelin) Arrive - 102d 20h 37m 49s (+ 9d 16h 40m 17s)
5 Union Bancaire Privée (Wavre) 45.2N 5.3W +170 nm
6 Sodebo (Coville) 46.2N 7.3W +236 nm
7 Team Group 4 (Golding) 35.3N 28.4W +1375 nm
8 EBP EspritPME Gartmore (Hall) 28.2N 33.5W +1855 nm
9 (Gallay) 27.4N 35W +1932 nm
10 Nord Pas de Calais - Chocolats du Monde (Seeten) 20.5N 37.1W +2312 nm
11 VM Matériaux (Carpentier) 20.5N 41.4W +2480 nm
12 (Bianchetti) (at 04:00 GMT) 0.1N 32.3W +3274 nm

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