Vendee Globe - 1430 - 31/1/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Desjoyeaux and Ellen plug through the trades

Wednesday January 31st 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
The drag race upwind through the north-east trades has continued for the leading pair of Michel Desjoyeaux (red) and Ellen MacArthur (blue), with the leader having an edge on his young challenger. The gap has crept out from 46 to 77 miles in the last 24 hours, and that's despite Ellen taking a slightly lower and what ought to be a faster course. But it's also very possible that they are in different breeze, a bit more pressure or a slight lift would be more than enough to give Desjoyeaux a boat speed edge.

Fleet at 0400, 31/1/01

Behind these two, third placed Marc Thiercelin (light brown) and fourth placed Roland Jourdain (dark blue) have both taken losses in the last 24 hours as they deal with the Doldrums.

Getting the worst of it will probably be Thiercelin, following the tracks of the leaders he has lost 112 miles to Desjoyeaux in the last 24 hours, and he was still four knots slower this morning. In contrast Roland Jourdain, all the way over on the western wing, was back up to ten knots plus and has only given up just over fifty miles to the leader.
When he spoke to the Race Office this morning, Jourdain reckoned, "It’s still not quite trade wind conditions yet but well, I got going at 0200 hours in the morning after a short time becalmed yesterday afternoon. The passage through the calms has been relatively uneventful for me compared to Mich and Ellen. But now we’ll have to see compared to Marc (Thiercelin) how it looks. I think I’ve gained ground between the entrance and exit of the Doldrums. I’m still waiting to see later today Marc’s progress but I’m not unhappy.

"PRB and Kingfisher are two very strong boats upwind, I can’t hope for too much on that front but I hope to get back up with them at least. I’ll know more what position I’ll be in at the Azores." I think we can expect Jourdain to be into third tomorrow.
continued on page two

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

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