Vendee Globe - 1430 - 01/01/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Ellen closes down Jourdain in the battle for second

Monday January 1st 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
I'm sure you know the old saying, it's not normally like this here. And the weather in the Southern Ocean has certainly been anything but normal these past few days for the leaders, as they've struggled to cope with a complex pattern of depressions and erratic breeze. Or may be not so complex for leader Michel Desjoyeaux (red).

On Friday Desjoyeaux was being closed down fast by both Jourdain (dark blue) and Ellen MacArthur (light blue) as he ran into a wall of light air. The leader then coolly announced on his radio report to the Race Office that he wasn't bothered as his calculations had him a couple of hundred miles ahead in two days time.

Fleet at 0200, 1/1/00

The gap between Jourdain and Desjoyeaux closed to 30 miles over the weekend, but come Monday, lo and behold (above), Michel Desjoyeaux once again enjoys a lead of over 200 miles, as he clawed his way into the low pressure system and new breeze that we targeted for him on Friday. But with Ellen and Roland Jourdain now close to joining him for a ride on that system, MacArthur could have banked her gains on second place - at the latest set of Race Office position reports she was only 36 nm behind Jourdain.

Weather at 0200, 1/1/00

The complex and unstable pair of depressions that have been creating the tricky conditions over the weekend, are finally settling into a single system (above), centred well south of the fleet and providing solid west to north-west breeze for those that can hook into it.

And right now that looks likely to be the top three, and probably Marc Thiercelin (light brown), who's positioned to the north where he's been riding a private and intense little front, which has enabled him to more or less hang on to the leaders. But this is dying out and Thiercelin needs to drive south-east pretty hard on that band of strong breeze he's in and get attached to the main system.
Map images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to the VS site.

continued on page 2

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