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Vendee Globe 2000 News - Day 5

by Philippe Jeantot on 14 Nov 2000
At the exit of the Gulf of Gascogne, new 20 - 30 knot winds from the Northwest arrived to kick start the fleet
downwind and at last they are heading South. The sea has calmed, allowing the 23 boats in this 4th edition of the
Vendée Globe to accelerate towards the Canaries. Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations) commented: 'I am reaching
an average of 17 knots from the GPS, surfing occasionally at 23/25 knots. Ideal conditions out here, with the
temperature rising and the sun shining'.

These ideal conditions are giving each skipper the chance to sort out the residual mess after the heavy upwind
weather and relax into the rhythm of the race. From his radio conversation, Parlier was one of the only skippers who
seemed not to have needed any time to adapt to the race.

The weather forecast announces stable NW winds for the following days. The skippers are getting a big morale boost
and should profit from these excellent winds as they head down to the Canaries. Yves Parlier and Michel Desjoyeaux
(PRB) are still neck and neck, very near each other on parallel routes.

Roland Jourdain (Sill Matines La Potagère) has made an astounding comeback, even after a 12-hour delay. after
returning to Les Sables d¹Olonne. He is only 62 miles behind the two leaders, and due to his relentless efforts he
has slipped into third place, which surprised even himself. 'I¹ve had more sail up and been racing furiously since
restarting. I shall pace myself more from now on; I have to remember that I need to get to the finish!' Only this
leading trio is averaging above 15 knots of speed. The wind is not so strong for the second group in pursuit off the
coast of Portugal. Perhaps we shall see the concertina stretching out at last.

The list of damages and problems incurred are long and varied, a few of which were recounted over the radio this
morning. Patrice Carpentier (VM Materiaux) has had to unblock his winches, Simone Bianchetti (Aquarelle.com) has
been fixing autopilot problems due to a short-circuiting fault, and Thierry Dubois (Solidaires) is having a problem with
his staysail and needs to replace the screws on the U-block, which have come out of the deck. Richard Tolkien (This
Time ­ Argos Soditic) has found a 3-metre rip in his genoa, and the swivel unit attachment at the top of the running
forestay has broken. Joé Seeten (Nord Pas de Calais ­ Chocolats du monde) is experiencing communication
problems with his standard C which only works intermittently.

On the other hand, Pasquale de Gregorio (Wind telecomunicazioni) is in continually good spirits, and declared today
'At last, no more upwind!' Thierry Dubois (Solidaires) is positively beaming about the last 24-hour Œsleigh ride¹ he
has had, but adds that 'the course is only at it¹s early stages, and if I want to finish the Vendée Globe in a good
position I will pace myself more'.

The Canaries are now 585 miles from the bow of the leading boat. Yves Parlier has the 15th November in his sights
as the ETA at the first Œgateway¹ in this race. He told the Race HQ that he intends to reach Les Sables d¹Olonne
on the 15th February, 99 days after the start gun! It¹s getting hot out there

Radio Chat Extracts

Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations): 'I am reaching in a good wind and expect to reach the Canaries on the 15th. In
re-planning my personal goals after the delayed start, I expect to arrive in Les Sables on the 11th February with 99
days under my belt. Right now I am going at 17.5 knots with moments at 23-4 knots.'

Thomas Coville (Sodebo): 'I am still being prudent about how I manage the boat. Those ahead are in better wind and
no doubt the skippers are able to push harder. But it's not that I haven't been working hard too. They came out of the
Biscay weather earlier and have caught the favourable winds first. In view of the next 3 or more months at sea I am
happy with my rhythm.'

Thierry Dubois (Solidaires): 'I have a problem with my staysail. The 4 screws in the U-bolt have come loose. Not too
dire. I took a safer route round Cap Finisterre much further offshore. Maybe not the fastest way around but I don't
want to be ahead at all costs and risk damaging the boat.'

Patrice Carpentier (VM Matériaux): 'I have just put the top back on my faulty winch. Before yesterday in the night I
was going upwind in 40-45 knots. The boat got a bit of a bashing and so there's some maintenance to do now. The
seal over one of the 2 hydraulic fronts for the helm is broken. My alarm doesn't stop ringing with all the cargo ships
around.'

Richard Tolkien (This Time Argos Soditic): 'My genoa has a 3m tear in and the swivel unit attachment at the top of
the running forestay has broken but I have been speaking to Harken about repairing it using Kevlar rope. I am still
heading South.'

Bernard Gallay (Voilà.fr): 'The night before last was really hard, but since then I have dried out and started heading
more North West. I didn't make the right choice at all by staying the furthest East, and haven't slept much since the
start, there are so many cargo ships stopping me from getting into my 20 minute naps.'

Roland Jourdain (Sill Matines La Potagere): 'I've been furious since restarting from Les Sables, for sure. I so didn't
want the other boats to stick their bows into the downwind stuff before me and last night I thought they had all sped
off without me so I suppose I have done pretty well myself overnight!'

Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB): 'Last night was quite tranquil. I haven't touched the helm since yesterday afternoon. I
have 25-30 knots from the NNW and the boat is progressing well between 15-20 knots. I have one reef in but could
let it out now. I did cross Parlier yesterday afternoon, he was was further to windward than myself. The boat is in
good shape and I have had time to give her a check over.'

Simone Bianchetti (Aquarelle.com): Last night the Italian skipper reported problems with his autopilot, which
thankfully are resolved this morning: 'I found the problem cable and was able to sort it out. I would never think about
stopping, I don't have the balls to do that! I am sticking to the race, despite this and a problem with my Mini M.'

Didier Munduteguy (DDP - 60e Sud) : 'I am slowly getting myself going, and had a bit of sea-sickness when the front
passed through. I am sticking further inshore awaiting the wind to turn a bit more North. I think these three first
weeks in the race are going to get me well settled into the same rhythm as my boat.'

Pasquale de Gregorio (Wind): 'No more upwind! Well, thanks to the lovely ladies who prepared my food I have been

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