by Vendee Globe
In the Vendee Globe, the front of the fleet are gnawing their nails as they are plagued by fickle weather conditions. The question is who will benefit? Will it be those who have elected to sail the shortest and most direct route of the course, and are now heading into the lighter north, or those who have sailed deeper south in search of faster winds. The choices have been made but will the models depict a true and accurate forecast of the life on the ocean they are sailing. Only time will tell. Behind, still in the trade winds, the chasing pack are enjoying frisky conditions.
Francois Gabart, Macif
The frontman, Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) is sticking to the direct route, and sailing the shortest course. The models are predicting lighter airs for the northern option. So the question is will they lose out in the coming days? Will those who have decided to sail slightly off piste and away from the direct route gain from the predicted winds building off the coast of Brazil?
In his wake, Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) has overnight held onto to his second place, sailing in the slip stream of Banque Populaire, he has chosen to sail the shortest course. Third place, Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) is making his way south, and losing a few miles on the leader. He confessed yesterday during Vendée Globe LIVE that he is envious of those positioned more west. There is a high pressure developing in the north-north-west, which could allow those more south to accelerate forward. The gambling three (Gabart, Dick and Le Camm) might be rubbing their hands with glee if this tactical choice plays in their favour.
Vendée Globe Live (direct, version française)... by VendeeGlobeTV
The slowest boat in the fleet, overnight François Gabart (Macif) is now sailing on the same latitude as Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3). Gabart wrote last night as he sailed under the light of moonlit sky, 'This moon is full. Almost. Maybe tomorrow? It’s always more fun to steer on the bridge at night at this time. In 10 days, when we are in 'the south', it will be cloudy 90% of the time. So full moon, or not, it does not change much. There is not much wind, but it could be much worse. We try to advance as you can. I think the worst is behind but we won’t accelerate for a few days! :-)'
Another skipper this morning rubbing his hands like Charles Dicken’s character, Uriah Heep, is Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel). He is on the expressway south hoping to benefit from a shift westward. He is neck and neck with Mike Golding (Gamesa) a little further west and slower. But the fastest of the group of the hunting senior sailors, Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) has shifted further west of the pack searching for good winds to dive south. He has travelled almost 300 miles in the last 24 hours.
Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered) with his batteries recharged 100% has made great progress covering 369.8 miles in 24 hours, with an average of over 17 knots in the last hour. He has taken advantage of the rotation of the trade winds and is curving his way eastward. He wrote this morning, 'Today has been the fastest day in the southern hemisphere with 15-17 knots of a 70º wind. It looks like we are getting a little closer to the leaders but we will have to see what happens in the next few days. The power systems are working well. I’m still fully charging the batteries every day and close to latitude 30º. It is spring here, the sun is higher and the sails have less shadow over the panels. A big hug. No petrol welcome onboard. Bubi'
Offset in the east, Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur) in 10th place is still managing to maintain a good pace at the helm of his 1998 Lombard. 'It was an eventful night onboard, with squalls and waves - the opposite of yesterday! But my gift from the day which was perfect for the night was when I saw my position so now I am going to study the files.' Lamotte is aware the green dragon, Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) is breathing fire down his neck and is looking to overtake.
Last night, Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) was the fastest of the fleet. After a diabolical Doldrums he is ready to unleash his fury and show the full potential of his boat, the former PRB. Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde with EDM) is connecting the back of the fleet with the chasing pack and has covered over 370 miles in 24 hours. But yesterday during the web tv show Vendée Globe live he confessed that he can’t wait to get into the icy grip of the Southern Ocean.
Happily bringing up the rear is the adventuring sea gardener, who is growing salad onboard, Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique) to 1243 miles from the front, with an 11 knot average in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, he sent back a video showing us he was not alone and had a bird onboard.
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