Vendee Globe - Form Guide

Ed Gorman completes our race preview with a look at the other front runners
If it's not going to be Mike, Ellen or Michel Desjoyeaux, who else might do the business in the Vendee? Catherine Chabaud (FRA), Whirlpool Chabaud, 37, has a good Marc Lombard boat and the experience of the last Vendee when she was the last of the finishers, becoming the first woman to complete a non-stop single-handed round-the-world race. Since then she has done well, just missing out on winning the 1999 Transat Jacques Vabre with Luc Bartissol and then winning the Fastnet Race overall. But Chabaud may struggle to handle the pace in the Vendee and there are question marks over her motivation with personal commitments at home making it difficult for her to focus on the race. Whirlpool was built in 1998 and has a relatively conventional fixed mast with a swing keel and two daggerboards. The boat was dismasted in the 1998 Route du Rhum and has since undergone considerable modification partly designed to make it more manageable. The boom has been shortened and the roach reduced in the mainsail. In Les Sables there have been some last minute problems with the keel. Could make the top five. Thomas Coville (FRA), Sodebo Coville, 32, has vast experience in the Admiral's Cup, the America's Cup and the grand-prix multi-hull circuit. He was on board Olivier de Kersauson's Sport-Elec when it broke the Jules Verne record and he also has a long pedigree in short-handed racing. He was second overall in the 1997 Mini-Transat and was the top newcomer in the 1998 Figaro series. His most recent big successes were his win in the 1998 Route du Rhum (when he took over from the injured Yves Parlier in the Open 60 Aquitaine Innovations), and victory in the 1999 Transat Jacques Vabre with Herve Jan. Coville is also something of a reluctant competitor,