Vendee Globe - 1230 - 22/2/01

Mark Chisnell reports - it's Groundhog Day out there

Thursday February 22nd 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
If you listen carefully, you can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth coming from the Bay of Biscay - that's how still it is out there. Nothing has changed. Dominique Wavre (dark brown) isn't home yet, just 63 miles from the finish at 0600 this morning, having crawled a hundred miles closer in the last 24 hours, with Thomas Coville (orange) a little quicker and now 54 miles behind him.

Fleet at 0400, 22/2/01

Mike Golding (dark blue) is the latest victim, as he struggles closer to the Bay of Horrors, over the last 24 hours he has got just 142 miles nearer to the finish. He spoke to the Race Office this morning, "I’m tired, it’s been a long night, a very long night. With little wind, big shifts and no rest at all.

"I’m pushing east as hard as I can, and heading away from the mark. The wind shifts have been up to 60 degrees, and vary from as much as 15 knots and as little as zero. I thought I’d got going this morning as things were okay for a few hours, I loaded the ballast, but the big black cloud in front seems to be heading me so I’m stuck. My speed right now is five knots and heading 120, so I’m going parallel, across the course."
"I imagined I’d be able to tack into the northerlies. Now I’m a little despondent about it. I’m worried that the ridge behind me is chasing me in to the corner and I’ll never get out of it. That’s bad news and I’ve clearly lost a load of miles over night. Looking at the weather ahead I hope I’ll make it in Sunday or Monday or the delay would be significant." Golding also has a problem with his genoa fitting again, as he did in the Southern Ocean, and has had to rig a temporary halyard to hold the sail up.

Weather at 0349, 24/2/01As we can see from Saturday's forecast (right) there is no more joy coming from the weather. The centre of the high pressure is going to shift west out into the Atlantic, and the breeze across the race track might strengthen a little. But it's still going to be blowing straight from the finish and it will be an uphill, upwind slog all the way for Golding.

The little low pressure that's forming behind him might help Josh Hall though, already benefiting from being south and 136 miles closer to Golding this morning. He could also get some quick downwind conditions from the low, before he moves past it and gets on the upwind highway to hell.
continued on page two

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

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