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North Sails Performance 2023 - LEADERBOARD

Doldrums end in sight for Peyron

by Vendee Globe media on 21 Nov 2008
© Loïck Peyron / Gitana Team Copyright : Gitana S.A.

Sounding slightly fatigued but objective, Loïck Peyron admitted he was hoisting a genoa and sailing into a better breeze this Thursday lunchtime, hoping that this was the first clear signal that he was starting to shake off the worst of the Doldrums with his lead intact.

It may be a false dawn, there may still be light and fickle breezes to come, but Peyron’s speed has risen again and his margin increased. Since he spoke to the daily radio broadcast Peyron, skipper of the navy blue hulled Gitana Eighty, has stretched his lead back to 21.8 miles over Seb Josse (BT).

The threat, such as it is, comes from Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2), in third, who has a more westerly position, by 45 miles, and has been making the best gains.

Indeed as the fleet emerge into the SE’ly breezes it is those to the west who seem to have made the best initial impact. Mike Golding, GBR, has nearly halved his deficit on the lead today, lying seventh at 55.1 miles behind Peyron.

With some 330 miles to the Equator, though the battle has largely been astern of Peyron and he has scarcely made a wrong move, the race between third and sixth has seen places change regularly and there is never any release from the intensity. Speeds may drop with the breeze, but the competition is as keen and hard fought as it was off the start line.

Once again today boats within this elite group have been racing within a matter of miles of each other at distances and using strategies more reminiscent of a one design weekend offshore race than a 24,000 miles solo round the world marathon.

Vincent Riou (PRB) in third is just six miles behind Dick, while Armel Le Cléach (Brit Air) and Yann Elies (Generali), the rearguard of this top flight, were separated by only a couple of miles laterally this afternoon.

From Peyron to tenth placed Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux), the distance is still less than 90 miles. The gap back to 11th placed Dominic Wavre, SUI, (Temenos II) is then more than 110 miles tonight but the racing within this next wave is as close.

Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) is nearing the end of a marathon sail repair to his main utility A3 gennaker which split from front to back some days ago. The Cowes based skipper, holder of more than 20 round the world and ocean racing speed records, has been working round the clock while the conditions are favourable, sleeping on deck last night in the perfect weather. He told us today that he still has many hours to complete the mending process but he passed Sam Davies to take 12th place on the standings and has had the highest average speed over the last sched of the Top 15 boats.

Unai Basurko, ESP, (Pakea Bizkaia) reported that, 'everything is good, everything is fine. I start to be happy now. The first three or four days I was not so happy with my tactics, but after a few days we get racing and now I am happy with the boat. I study my meteo and the timings and I hope that we have an open gate in the Doldrums, more east than for the fleet. I hope to try some different things.'

News from the Boats:

Dominique Wavre (Temenos) is about to enter the Doldrums. 'Since this morning, I’ve had a steady wind and I’m making due south. It’s not very fast but we’re back in a classic NE’ly air flow again. The lack of trade winds yesterday was really unexpected. What’s happening today is already more normal; it’s as if there was a 24 hour delay in the forecast. This morning I was able to sleep, which enabled me to rest as much as possible. I’m in good shape and on the attack for the Doldrums. We should hit it tonight or tomorrow but for the time being, I still can’t see the characteristic cloud formations on the horizon. That would suggest that the entrance doesn’t lie within the next 30 miles. The Doldrums has been shifting southwards since yesterday. If ever we go through it at the point where it climbs northwards from the south, that could be a good opportunity to get through it a little easier at its narrowest point, which would be a good thing. I’d prefer not to get ahead of myself though; this zone may still have so many surprises in store for us.'

From Dee Caffari on Aviva.

'The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.' ~ Elbert Hubbard ~

'This was sent to me and how right it is. I am so aware of how visible every loss or gain is for everyone watching the race and my biggest fear is letting people down. So I have grasped today and am concentrating on sailing Aviva ever closer to the Pot au Noir as that is my next obstacle.

'Following that we can celebrate the Equator with Neptune. I will make mistakes and I have seen some already but the greatest fact of all is being out here to make them. My sponsor and team have given me a fantastic opportunity and I can't wait to put everything I learn from this voyage into the next races.

'Already my feeling for the boat grows and after a few thousand miles we will be pushing a greater pace I am sure. So we continue south Aviva and I with little hitches to the west hoping for a favourable crossing of the doldrums and looking at what those ahead are encountering at the same time.

'To celebrate my sailing south the iPod has finally been retrieved from the bottom of a kit bag and we have been cruising to Mika and Nickelback in style today.'

Bernard Stamm.' For several days, Cheminées Poujoulat has been sailing under spinnaker towards the Equator and the Doldrums. Looking at the speeds in the last scheds, some competitors look like they intend to moor up in the Doldrums. I must not get too cocky though, as my time will come soon enough. Life on board is starting to fall in place and I've got into a rhythm with the weather data and meals that I try to organise for the same time as back ashore.

The rest of the time I spend getting the boat moving as fast as possible downwind, which means there is a lot of work. I have to keep making small adjustments, work on the trim, change the sails and steer. In amongst all that I need to remember to rest in order not to get run down. It's not always easy to do. For me it may be a bit easier as the pressure comes from the clock and not from being surrounded by ten other competitors.'

Vendee Globe - 15:00 HRS GMT. (FRA, unless stated)

1- Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) 21024.8 miles to the finish
2- Seb Josse (BT) at + 21.8 miles to leader
3- Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2) at + 23.7 miles to leader
4- Vincent Riou (PRB) at +29.5 miles to leader
5- Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) at + 38.9 miles to leader

Selected International

7- Mike Golding, GBR, (ECOVER 3) at + 55.1 miles
11- Dominique Wavre, SUI, (Temenos 2) at + 191 miles
12- Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) at + 193.2 miles
13- Sam Davies, GBR,(ROXY) at + 205.8 miles
16- Dee Caffari, GBR, (AVIVA) at + 294 miles
17- Steve White, GBR, (Toe in the Water) at + 305.9 miles
19- Johnny Malbon, GBR, (Artemis) at + 343.9 miles
20- Unai Basurko, ESP, (Pakea Bizkaia) at + 387.2 miles
21- Rich Wilson, USA, (Great America III) at + 490.9 miles
22- Norbert Sedlacek, AUT, (Nauticsport-Kapsch) at + 547.3 miles
24- Bernard Stamm, SUI, (Cheminées Poujoulat) at + 982.3 miles
25- Derek Hatfield, CAN, (Algimouss Spirit of Canada) at + 1455.9 miles
2024 fill-in (bottom)Henri-Lloyd - For the ObsessedRooster Wetsuit Range

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