Storms force Jeantot to delay Vendée until Thursday

Only Parlier objects to postponing the start of the world's toughest yacht race

Monday November 6th 2000, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
Strong westerly winds have forced Vendée Globe organiser Philippe Jeantot to postpone the round-the-world race again - the delayed start was to have been Tuesday afternoon - this time it's gone back until Thursday at 3pm GMT. Richard Silvani from Méteo France gave the weather forecast for Tuesday as 35-40 knots from the west.
Jeantot commented, 'This will prevent the boats from being able to safely leave the port itself and get out of the channel.'

The depression that has been raging over the Vendée region for the last 24 hours has whipped up winds of 40-50 knots and the sea state has worsened considerably. The majority of competitors have backed Jeantot’s decision to err on the side of caution, as a large spectator fleet could give the 60-footers little room for manoeuvre, whilst any serious gear damage could see a boat washed onto the rocky lee shore of Brittany.

In a vote over the first postponement, 19 out of 24 skippers voted to delay the start, four abstained and only one was against. That was Yves Parlier, who commented, 'I am programmed to go on the 5th November and the line is open for ten days. If the start was tomorrow, I would have taken it.'

But race favourite Michel Desjoyeaux countered, 'It makes a lot of sense. If the line had stayed open tomorrow, it would not have been a sensible or sportsmanlike decision.'

Ellen MacArthur agreed, saying, 'It's a good thing. Better that everyone starts together, and safely. In the Southern Ocean, if you were to dismast, you have sea room to deal with it, although it isn't easy. To dismast along the coast with 60 knots on a lee shore, it would be like hitting a brick wall.'

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