Vendee Globe - 1130 - 12/2/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Jourdain pushes for 24 hour solo record

Monday February 12th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
With Ellen MacArthur and Michel Desjoyeaux already tied up at the dock in Les Sables d'Olonne, third placed Roland Jourdain (dark blue) is urgent to join them. 'Bilou' - as the French call him - is, frankly, caning it on the last breeze of that low pressure system.

The Race Office reported this morning, "We are still hoping to confirm that Roland has beaten the 24 hour solo record, today Argos should confirm the calculations from the series of position reports given. Bilou must better the record set by Dominique Wavre by 1 mile." Not a bad way to end the Vendee Globe.

Fleet at 0500, 12/2/01

Less happy times for Marc Thiercelin (light brown) in fourth, still over a thousand miles to go - his effort to go to the west of the fast moving Azores High came seriously unstuck last week with the development of a little rogue low pressure, that he is still wrestling with today.

But those chasing him have problems of their own. Thomas Coville's (orange) rudder is seriously handicapping him in his fight with Dominique Wavre (dark brown) for fifth place - Wavre is now almost 60 miles clear. Coville reported today, "Last night, a 25-knots wind kicked in when suddenly the helm just locked. Straight away I noticed that the starboard rudder - the one which I had repaired in the month of December after having struck a whale - was not responding any more.

"I was unable to bear away from the wind. The torn genoa half unrolled. Shreds of cloth hung down. I brought down the mainsail to stop the boat and turned her head to wind. I managed to get the genoa under control and to roll it up rather tightly. Then I went into the after peak to try and work out what had happened. There was so much water, mid-thigh in fact. I must have underestimated the extent of the damage to the rudder stock. While I was at it, I changed the drive unit of the automatic pilot which must have gone wrong by pushing on the jammed rudder. And I’d been counting on getting some sleep!"

Weather at 0441, 14/2/01

And if the rudders weren't enough, Coville is also looking down the barrel of a tough forecast (above). There is a nebulous double zone of high pressure developing for mid-week, with the Azores High reforming, along with a second centre over the British Isles. As Coville explained, "A field of high pressure is going to put paid to the passage of any troughs (low pressure).

"At the same time, the two enormous anti-cyclonic cells (high pressure) which are forming over France and the British Isles are going to come together ... When there is no difference in pressure, there’s no wind. Our only chance is a freezing cold north or north-easterly flow bang smack on the nose." concluded the skipper before going back down below to try and sort out some way of sealing the damaged rudder.

Better news for Team Group 4, Mike Golding is almost out of the Doldrums, with a filling north-easterly trade wind. Golding is feeling a lot better, having recovered from the dehydration and sunburn he developed after repairing the damage from the massive Chinese gybe on Friday night. Golding is now over a hundred miles ahead of fellow Brit Josh Hall, but that jury rig of Golding's is going to face a real test with a thousand miles of upwind sailing in the trade winds.
Click for new window with link to Virtual SpectatorMap 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, Monday 12/2, with Distances to Finish from Race Office)

1 PRB (Desjoyeaux) Finished
2 Kingfisher (MacArthur) Finished
3 SILL Matines La Potagère (Jourdain) (at 05:03 GMT) 44.3N 8.3W +297 nm
4 Active Wear (Thiercelin) 38.1N 23.1W +1069 nm
5 Union Bancaire Privée (Wavre) (at 05:52 GMT) 31.5N 27.3W +1469 nm
6 Sodebo (Coville) 30.4N 27.4W +1527 nm
7 Whirlpool (Chabaud) 24.5N 36.1W +2089 nm
8 Team Group 4 (Golding) (at 05:00 GMT) 5.5N 35.5W +3033 nm
9 EBP EspritPME Gartmore (Hall) (at 05:00 GMT) 3.5N 35.5W +3143 nm
10 Voila.fr (Gallay) (at 05:00 GMT) 2.5N 35.5W +3200 nm
11 VM Matériaux (Carpentier) 2.2S 35.3W +3490 nm
12 Nord Pas de Calais - Chocolats du Monde (Seeten) (at 04:00 GMT) 3.5S 33.2W +3515 nm

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