Vendee Globe - 1130 - 4/1/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Desjoyeaux and Jourdain go on the offensive

Thursday January 4th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Ellen MacArthur (light blue) was up to second on the evening of the 3rd January, but overnight both Roland Jourdain (dark blue) and Michel Desjoyeaux (red) went back on the attack. Desjoyeaux has gained on both these two, and Jourdain is back into second.

The overall weather still looks like it will develop as we explained yesterday, with the advantage being held by the boats positioned furthest south at the end of the week, as the wind switches to blow from that direction. And in the meantime, the better breeze is to the south, closer to the centre of the low pressure. The problems with being south are the icebergs and the possibility of getting caught on the south side of the centre of the low pressure, in the easterly headwinds that blow there.

Fleet at 0200, 4/1/01

As we can see from the fleet map (above) Jourdain and Desjoyeaux both seem to read it that south is best, and are prepared to take their chances with the bergs, as they have gybed back to head south in the last 24 hours. An earlier report from the leader sounded as though he was prepared to accept the limitations imposed by his power failure. "I’m not surprised to hear about ‘Bilou’ (Jourdain) and Ellen as it’s evident that there are icebergs down there.

"I’ve just been helming for three hours with a fireman’s helmet on my head - excellent! But then we have to get on with it. Everything depends on the sailing angle and the good will of the wind generator. I’m slipping away voluntarily from stronger winds, but still getting to go where I want to be. As for the engine, well, I’m going to test it later." But after his swing back south, right towards the storm blowing round the centre of the low pressure, it's clear Michel Desjoyeaux is a long way from finished.

Weather at 0200, 4/1/01

In the bigger weather picture (above), that low pressure still has some of its dumb-bell shape, and it will continue to drag this tail as it heads for Cape Horn, before dropping south and shifting the winds to the south as we discussed yesterday. The corners are where it counts in yacht racing, and this final couple of thousand miles will be critical.

Click for new window with link to Virtual SpectatorMap images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to the VS site.

Please note that two different methods of calculating the Distance to Finish are being used, one by Virtual Spectator and one by the Vendee Globe Race Office, we will try to always make it clear which we are using!
continued with position report on page 2

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