Vendee Globe - 1230 - 5/2/01

Mark Chisnell reports as the elastic between Ellen and Mich retracts for what could be the last time

Monday February 5th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Weather at 2345, 5/2/01Looking at the forecast for the next 24 hours (right), it certainly seems they are going to have to sail their way clear of this high pressure, it isn't going to move and release them.

The ridge will retract towards the west, and also shift north. But the movement of high pressure is notoriously difficult to predict and as we've said, this final battle is much more likely to be fought on a micro level with clouds and gusts counting more than the big picture strategy.

Weather at 0636, 7/2/01By the middle of the week (right) the Azores High will have established itself into a much more normal configuration, centred over the leader's current position. And to the north of that the westerly winds keep churning, with a succession of low pressure systems set to traverse the North Atlantic in the next week.

This is almost certainly the last time the leaders will have to cross high pressure and light air. Those depressions should fire them all the way into the Bay of Biscay and through the finish line. Once they pick up that new breeze and start moving it will be more about who can push their boat hardest without crashing in the final miles.

But the 64 million dollar question is who will be first to reach that new wind? Keep everything crossed ... by tomorrow morning we may have the answer.

Further back, Thomas Coville and Dominique Wavre have both been hammered by the Doldrums and now find themselves well over a thousand miles behind the leaders, Catherine Chabaud is closing fast on this pair and after so long on her own, may soon have someone to race against.

Mike Golding is probably wishing he didn't have someone to race - after cruising up to fellow Brit and friend Josh Hall, fate seems to be dictating that Golding cannot go past. After once again moving up to eighth over the weekend, Team Group 4 then lost everything and more during Golding's near dismasting.

With a jury-rigged starboard shroud and over a thousand miles of trade wind sailing to do with it fully loaded upwind in waves, Mike Golding will have plenty on just to finish now. But what a remarkable effort that would be after all his troubles.

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!

Link to the madforsailing form guide.

Rankings (0500 GMT except where stated, Monday 5/2, with Distances to Finish from Race Office)

1 PRB (Desjoyeaux) 28.4N 33.5W 1846 nm
2 Kingfisher (MacArthur) (at 06:01 GMT) 27.5N 33.1W +15 nm
3 SILL Matines La Potagère (Jourdain) 24.2N 35.4W +260 nm
4 Active Wear (Thiercelin) (at 04:00 GMT) 20.4N 36W +434 nm
5 Sodebo (Coville) 3.3N 31.5W +1205 nm
6 Union Bancaire Privée (Wavre) 3.2N 32.2W +1230 nm
7 Whirlpool (Chabaud) 1.2S 33.3W +1552 nm
8 EBP EspritPME Gartmore (Hall) 14.5S 36W +2367 nm
9 Team Group 4 (Golding) (at 04:00 GMT) 16.1S 32.2W +2379 nm
10 Voila.fr (Gallay) (at 04:00 GMT) 21.4S 31.1W +2688 nm
11 VM Matériaux (Carpentier) (at 04:00 GMT) 23.2S 32.5W +2807 nm
12 Nord Pas de Calais - Chocolats du Monde (Seeten) (at 04:00 GMT) 23.5S 33.3W +2847 nm

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