Vendee Globe - less than 24 hours to the gun

This time, they will go

Wednesday November 8th 2000, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Conditions are finally looking promising for the start of the Vendée Globe 2000 - and the gun is now confirmed for Thursday 9th November at 1611hrs (French time). Local fishing boats will lead the fleet out of the Port of Olona from 1230, with everyone expected to be in the bay an hour before the start.
The line is off the main stretch of beach, the fleet will then race an upwind leg of three miles to a windward mark, before turning and heading for Cape Finisterre. The Météo France forecast is for west-north-west at ten to 15 knots, with clear skies. It should increase to between ten to 20 knots from the north-west over the first night at sea.

Philippe Jeantot, the race organiser, commented, 'We expect there to be around 10,000 people watching the start, despite the delay, with 400 spectator boats out on the water.' It was British skipper Josh Hall that spoke for everyone, 'This delay feels very strange for all of us - November 5th has been our target date for so long now, it's hard to be treading water. It’s been a matter of getting over the mental hurdle of re-focusing on Thursday as the start.'

While another of the four British skippers in the race, Richard Tolkien, announced a sponsorship deal with Argos Soditic, a capital investment group, on Wednesday 8th November. Tolkien's Open 60 will now be called This Time-Argos Soditic. Although not as high profile as Ellen MacArthur, Mike Golding or Josh Hall, Tolkien won his class in the Transat Quebec-St. Malo in 1984, came fifth in the Europe 1 Single-handed Trans-Atlantic race in 1992 (monohull class), and won the Round Britain race in 1998 on a 40ft trimaran FPC Greenaway. His Open 60 is the old Fujicolour III, modified for the Vendee.

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