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Vendée Globe 2000 News - Day 18

by Philippe Jeantot on 26 Nov 2000
The Saint-Helen high pressure system seems to be lower than usual. Its center is located around 30° South and 10° West. To avoid it, the competitors will have to go further down before turning to the East. Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations) still leading the race has gone through 10° South. He still has more than a thousand miles to sail to reach this point, roughly three days. Until then the centre of the high pressure has time to move and oblige the skippers to modify their strategy to turn left earlier. The leading boats don't have any more South Easterly winds and with the Eastern lift the competitors are now beam reaching with 15 to 20 knots of wind. It is ideal conditions. Yves Parlier was telling us this morning : 'I am doing 14-15 knots! I am 'eating' the miles and I am happy. I am on a beam reach, the boat is sailing really well and the sea is calmer. I am doing some maintenance.'

The conditions should remain steady for a few days. The boats are fast without suffering. It's a good time to prepare the boats for the hard weeks to come as the same great conditions will not happen again before long.

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool), on the East side of the fleet also has the same weather : 'I am still waiting for the wind to get lighter to climb up in the mast. I would like to do a last check before arriving in the Southern Ocean. At the moment I am trying to rest and sleep as much as possible'. Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear) was a bit behind as he had to fix his gooseneck problem 'I spent the whole night working. I do my best to come back on Thomas Coville (Sodebo) and the others. It's going to be a ruthless battle within the top boats'. Swiss skipper Dominique Wavre (Union Bancaire Privée) in the same group of boats is keeping an eye on his boat: 'I have a good boat, solid but she is extraordinarily powerful. I must be careful'.

One of the four British skippers of the race, Richard Tolkien (This Time ­ Argos Soditic) has been having problems with his genoa and furling system for quite a time and was also waiting for better conditions to climb up in his mast to do the repairs. Unfortunately he hasn't found the expected calms in the Doldrums (the boats of the second group have had good winds all the time). He is now nearly in the South East trade winds and hasn¹t had any opportunity to repair.

Surprisingly, Richard Tolkien is turning back and is heading North to the Capo Verde islands where he hopes to find a quiet mooring to achieve the repair and finally hoist his genoa. His decision is surprising as he will have to sail at least 1800 miles to come back to the same position he has today. In front of him, on his right, is the North East head of Brazil where there are big marinas and good shelters like Reciffe and where he could find the same calm conditions as in Capo Verde but without increasing his route by 1800 miles. If he sticks to his decision this would put him far behind the rest of the fleet. In the Vendée Globe race, a late boat far behind the others can be a problem, as far as security is concerned, in the Southern Ocean. None of the others skippers will be able to come back to provide him help in case he had problems.

The other Brit, Mike Golding (Team Group 4) is still catching on the fleet, and is getting closer to the Capo Verde Islands. It should not be long before he passes them.

Radio Chat Extracts

Javier Sanso (Old Spice): 'I have crossed the Equator last night, it was the third time I did it but the first one when it was night time. As it was the first crossing ever for the boat I organised a ceremony with some champagne. Now I can¹t wait to round the Southern Ocean as quickly as possible!'

Richard Tolkien (This Time/Argos Soditic): 'I am heading North now as I have been unable to sort my genoa and jib problems. I will try to do it in Capo Verde where the conditions should be better for me to climb up in the mast. I have nowhere else I could go or may be the alternative could be Recife in Brasil. I cannot repair unless I stop the boat.'

Dominique Wavre (Union Bancaire Privée): 'I have finally caught the same wind my friends had. And I am resting, sleeping and eating good food. I am doing lots of checks here and there as I want to arrive in the South in the safest conditions as possible. I keep an eye on the evolution of the Saint Helen high pressure system. But it¹s like being on holidays after the Doldrums.'

Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations): 'I am doing 14-15 knots! I am 'eating' the miles and I am happy. I am on a beam reach, the boat is sailing really well and the sea is calmer. Why is Golding so far behind? (Yves didn't know that the British skipper of Team Group 4 had dismasted in the Bay of Biscay and now sails 1900 miles from the leader). Poor him!'

Didier Munduteguy (DDP 60° Sud): 'I am in the trade winds, arriving by 2°20 North, the Equator is not far. It's warm. I haven't slowed down much. The sky is very clear. Crossing 'The Line' is part of the dream when you go round the world, I am going to celebrate this on my own with a bottle of champagne and some good food.'

Raphaël Dinelli (Sogal Extenso): 'I crossed the Equator at 13h03 UTC, upwind with a bottle of champagne and music on the deck. The wind is shifting regularly but I have no gusts or squalls. I am trying to fix some leaks, and to optimise the boat for the South.'

Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear): 'Night work under the squalls, I haven't slept, I am trying to catch up on Thomas and the fleet, I pushed the boat to her limits but she is handling it well. I will only have a rest when I am back with the others. My water maker still doesn't work, it's really annoying and it worries me for the South, I really need to repair it. I have 1 liter of fresh water per day in tanks, it should last me until Cape Horn...'

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool): 'I am working on the weather maps to handle the Ste Helen high pressure system as well as possible, I am looking for the best compromise between my speed and the route. I don¹t want to go too much in the West. It's quite impressive to be at this position at this time! Four years ago it was a slow train now it's a TGV!'

Latest Ranking* polled at 0830hrs (UT):

Psn/Boat/Skipper/Lat/Long/Headg/Av.Speed**/DTF***/Miles from leader
1 Aquitaine Innovations Yves Parlier 11°37'S 27°34'W 177 14.7 20059 0
2 PRB Michel Desjoyeaux 10°45'S 28°56'W 189 13.7 20128 69
3 Sill Matines & La Potagère Roland Jourdain 09°45'S 29°12'W 194 11.8 20191 132
4 Kingfisher Ellen MacArthur 09°15'S 29°46'W 182 11.8 20218 159
5 Whirlpool Catherine Chabaud 08°58'S 25°41'W 192 12.9 20195 136
6 Solidaires Thierry Dubois 08°09'S 27°56'W 178 10.5 20270 211
7 Sodebo Savourons la Vie Thomas Coville 08°09'S 29°13'W 187 11.8 20284 225
8 Active Wear Marc Thiercelin 08°19'S 29°23'W 186 11.4 20287 228
9 Union Bancaire Privée Dominique Wavre 07°29'S 29°09'W 190 12.6 20298 239
10 EBP - Défi PME - Gartmore Josh Hall 05°56'S 26°42'W 176 11.3 20416 357
11 Nord Pas de Calais - Chocolats du Monde Joe Seeten 05°09'S 28°59'W 174 9.29 20449 390
12 VM Matériaux Patrice Carpentier 04°19'S 28°44'W 189 9.72 20496 437
13 Voilà.fr Bernard Gallay 04°04'S 28°24'W 187 10.3 20507 448
14 This Time - Argos Soditic Richard Tolkien 01°03'N 25°47'W 17 8.79 20804 745
15 Sogal Extenso Raphaël Dinelli 02°36'S 27°28'W 201 9.47 20589 530
16 Old Spice Javier Sanso 00°52'S 26°23'W 183 9.53 20715 656
17 Simone Bianchetti 00°10'S 26°17'W 199 8.61 20731 672
18 Wind Pascuale de Gregorio 00°05'N 30°14'W 206 9.04 20797 738
19 DDP - 60ème Sud Didier Munduteguy 02°17'N 27°02'W 208 8.37 20905 846
20 Modern University for the Humanities Fedor Konyukhov 10°34'N 26°48'W 191 6.65 21379 1320
21 Team Group 4 Mike Golding 19°32'N 20°50'W 184 11 21970 1911

*Ranking ­ A series of waypoints marking a logical route have been used to calculate the rankings. The boat is ranked according to the waypoint it is nearest to.


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