White expected on Thursday

Toe in the Water skipper has upwind conditions to the Vendee Globe finish

Tuesday February 24th 2009, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: United Kingdom
With 267 miles to go at the latest (1430 sched) Steve White the sole remaining British competitor in the Vendee Globe, on board Toe in the Water, had a close encounter with a cargo ship last night which he admits was a little too close for comfort as he sailed in busy shipping traffic off Cape Finisterre.

The British skipper emerged unscathed and is making fair speed across the Bay of Biscay now, trying to hike north in the contrary, easterly winds as he makes for the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne where he is now expected on Thursday.

White should stay on the same tack now up to about the latitude of Lorient, where the breeze is likely to bend to a more favourable northerly direction, but the weather files also suggest it will be lighter, so nothing about his final approach seems to be falling in his favour. Once again he voiced his frustration today, saying that every time he tacked the wind had changed to be more against him.

“It’s like pulling teeth. I just want to get in.” White said today.

His VMG remains consistent at around 6-8 knots, although he said today that with 30 knot winds off Finisterre the seas were as big and awkward as he could remember, only the second time he could recall not being able to stand up on the foredeck of his Open 60, and having to work on his hands and knees.

While the direct distance is 267 miles to Les Sables, in reality this is closer to 330 miles with winds still mainly easterly up to 25 knots.

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