Vendee Globe - 1130 - 10/1/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Desjoyeaux closes with the Cape

Wednesday January 10th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Despite the drama with the broken gennaker halyard yesterday, Ellen MacArthur and Kingfisher (light blue) have continued to make ground up on the leader, Michel Desjoyeaux (red), closing the gap by another 30 miles today.

As we can see from the chart (below), Ellen and the boats immediately behind her are now in the north to north-westerly breeze off the front edge of the low pressure to their south-west. They have a fast broad reaching angle and should be sailing at the waypoint - Cape Horn. In contrast, Michel Desjoyeaux is now in lighter westerly breeze as the low to his south fills and moves away further south. He's now running downwind at slower VMG angles and has had to gybe for the Horn.

Fleet at 0500, 10/1/01

Behind Ellen, Roland Jourdain (dark blue) continues to slip back with his underpowered and damaged rig. Marc Thiercelin (light brown) is pacing Ellen and is only 15 miles behind Jourdain. Considering that Jourdain still has to make an (unassisted and therefore legal) repair stop, Thiercelin is now the major threat. Especially as Ellen reckoned yesterday that she would need shelter to pause and rethread the gennaker halyard - always assuming she can fix the sail well enough to need a halyard. Attrition is a big part of this now, and in the more moderate conditions of the Atlantic the condition of each skipper's sail wardrobe and boat will become a bigger factor.

Weather at 0500, 10/1/01

Looking at the bigger weather picture (above), most of the leading group are all benefiting from good breeze thanks to that big low still dominating the South Pacific. And in this picture at least, the run to Cape Horn looks relatively straight-forward ...
Map images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to the VS site.

continued on page two

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