Vendee Globe - 1230 - 8/2/01
It's a matter of bringing home their boats without further breakdown for this to be all done bar the shouting - and we can expect plenty of that this weekend, with up to two million people in Les Sables d'Olonne for the finish.
Both skippers are finally allowing their thoughts to move ahead to the end, Ellen told the Race Office this morning, "A bit tired, lighter winds have meant it's been quite hard to keep Kingfisher going - especially as the sea is really sloppy which means the boat slaps around and is stopped by each wave. It must be nearly time to get home - I’ve run out of chocolate, no more cheese or crackers, no more sweets other than the ones that after 90 days I can’t cope with any more - but plenty of freeze dried food for anyone that wants it! A nice pizza is what I could do with right now ...
"I saw my first plane since the start during the night, the flashing light a real reminder that civilisation was not so far away - for good or for bad. I would be happy for the race to finish today, but I’m also not sure what will have changed since I left. The most important thing to me is to see my friends and family, it's been a long time out here."
Desjoyeaux was in even more communicative mood, "It’s all going well. I start to have a more comfortable lead on our British Kingfisher! Last night we’ve had a few squalls but the boat wasn’t slamming as much as before. Our average speed was quite high around 15 knots. Spirits are up onboard PRB this morning. The sea is still quite big but nothing like last night.
"I still have a bit more than 700 miles to sail. It’s all getting organized well and we’ll have to be careful with the cargos road near Cap Finisterre. I am trying to make the most of my last days at sea and of my last quiet moments. I am trying to rest as much as possible for the last straight line back home.
"I can imagine what’s going to happen in Les Sables d’Olonne. I asked my PR team to explain to me what’s going to happen so that I can get ready for that. It’s going to be very impressive but it’s part of the race. I have lots of friends coming down, and it’s a good thing that I am arriving on a week end.
We’ve spent 100 days alone on our boat and coming to a massive crowd! But as we now have telephones onboard it’s a big change to the offshore sailor and I don’t feel like I’ve been cut off the world during all those days. I will just need people to leave me some time off with my family ... I am really looking forward to arriving. My ETA is for Saturday afternoon."
Behind Ellen and Desjoyeaux, third placed Roland Jourdain (dark blue) and Marc Thiercelin (light brown) in fourth have had the worst of it over the last 24 hours, and are being forced to watch the finishing parade from afar. Both have lost around 250 miles to Desjoyeaux as the Azores High has moved east and sat squarely on them (above).
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Map images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to the VS site.