Vendee Globe - 1030 - 22/1/01

This morning Kingfisher is poised to overtake PRB in the Vendee Globe

Monday January 22nd 2001, Author: Ed Gorman, Location: United Kingdom
Monday morning and Ellen MacArthur in Kingfisher has climbed to within 70 miles of Michel Desjoyeaux, the long time leader of the Vendee Globe. The even better news is that, according to the official race office position polls, Kingfisher was still travelling nearly three knots faster than PRB, so the distance is decreasing all the time.

The big question now is whether Ellen's more westerly option will allow her to get past "le professeur" or whether his long-held prediction that she will stop and he will get away first will prove correct. But the omens are looking good for Ellen who has reported in the early hours that she has been getting the first signs of the southeast trades, signalling her release from the south Atlantic High and the beginning of a 1,500-mile passage to the Doldrums.

Mark Turner, Ellen's shore manager, was in an unusually upbeat mood as he surveyed her prospects. With Ellen positioned 200 miles further west than Desjoyeaux - on the same latitude as Rio de Janeiro - she is further from the centre of the High than Desjoyeaux and Turner believes she may well sweep past him.

"There is 200 miles of separation and if he is further in the middle of the High, then it would take longer for him to get the easterlies," Turner told madforsailing. "In the last 24 hours Ellen's had more pressure to the west and from a more northwesterly direction and, with the cold front right behind her, this has bent the wind even more."

While Ellen moves in for the kill, the distance to third-placed Marc Thiercelin in Active Wear has increased to 258 miles. The danger remains Roland Jourdain in Sill who has been storming up to Thiercelin, sailing downwind behind the front. Jourdain is now only a couple of miles behind Active Wear and was the fastest boat in the top-four at 11.5 knots.

It seems that, for the second time, Jourdain is doing an excellent Lazarus job in this epic race. The first time was when he recovered to second place after going back to Les Sables on the first night and now he is back on the charge after stopping to repair his mast track after rounding Cape Horn.
On Jan, 22 at 04:00 UT,
1 Desjoyeaux, 4,659 (miles to the finish) 6.56 knots
2 MacArthur , + 70, 9.31
3 Thiercelin, +258, 4.53
4 Jourdain, +262, 11.5
5 Coville, +634, 8.3
6 Wavre, +827, 11.5

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

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