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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

SANSO ABANDONS AND GOLDING GETS HIS CLOSEST SHAVE

by Philippe Jeantot on 22 Dec 2000
As the Southern Ocean string of low pressure systems roll in one after the other, albeit with varying intensity, the Vendée Globe fleet is pressing
through each system with only a short respite in between.

Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB) in leading position, was just on the brink of the depression ahead of him early this morning and thus uniquely able to
benefit from the winds generated by this system to maintain normal boat speeds for a longer period of time. His closest rival, Roland Jourdain (Sill
Matines La Potagère), on the other hand, had been held up in the following anticyclonic dorsal. The most recent positions, however, confirm
Desjoyeaux¹s prediction, 'I'll get held up in it this afternoon or tonight', as he is now clocking under 10 knots of boat speed.

It¹s clear to see that the chasing boats, lead by Thomas Coville (Sodebo), are benefiting from the effects of the next depression already. Ellen Mac
Arthur (Kingfisher) and Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear) are outperforming Coville by 4 ­ 5 knots, which should soon diminish yet again the gaps
between each boat, following the regular concertina pattern.

By tomorrow, the top five boats are expected to have passed the longitude of the legendary Cap Leeuwin, in the South West of Australia. As they
near the half way mark (another 1000 miles to go), the average pace in this Vendée Globe seems to be on a par with the 1996 edition. Michel
Desjoyeaux in fact holds only 40 miles advance on the mileage of Christophe Auguin at the same point in time. Despite witnessing certain
unbelievable averages, the overall pace this year remains the same. As the new generation boats are now capable of higher average speeds, the
reason can be put down to the weather conditions.

A few days before Christmas and the skippers do not have their minds much on festivities, Chabaud (Whirlpool) instead declared 'I am bracing myself
for the full on Pacific Ocean swells'. Most skippers agreed that passing these celebrations alone is not what Christmas is about, but the occasion has
not been totally forgotten, as Josh Hall (EBP-Gartmore) has put up some Christmas decorations and Thiercelin can¹t wait to open up his surprise meal,
cooked by a famous French chef.

For the Spaniard Javier Sanso (Old Spice), however, the thought of celebration is far from his mind. A collision with an unidentified object broke one
of his rudders. He temporarily thought of continuing on one rudder, but the possibility that he might lose the second one, which would force him to
have to abandon the boat, steered him away from this option. He has now decided to head North to the nearest port in Australia 3300 miles away.

Sanso was greatly demoralised by this incident, after investing so much of his life and several years into participating in the Vendée Globe. For him,
finishing this race was his present to his wife and friends, to all who had put their hopes in him. On a positive note, he will not give up on this
circumnavigation : 'I will try to finish outside the race but around the world alone ­ and there¹s nothing stopping me from winning the next one!' Out
of the 6 abandons in this race, half have been due to collisions to date.

Mike Golding (Team Group 4) was barely audible on the Mini M this morning, and yet the tone of his voice was distinctly dejected. He had recently
come through what was the most terrifying experience, he admitted, even for this hardened, experienced skipper. In a futile attempt to effect repairs to
the top genoa furler, he had to prematurely cut himself free to descend from the mast as the boat had drifted out of the lee of Possession Island and
was pushed over several times. Frustrated to have lost miles without making real progress with his situation, he is going to make a last attempt to stop
and repair in the shelter of the Kerguelen Islands.

And finallyŠYves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations) has increased the sail area on his jury rig. He reached 8,57 knots early this morning.


Radio Chat Extracts

Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB) : 'I made a pit-stop this morning to repair my battens. I'm on the edge of the depression, which is ahead of us. I'm going at a
comfortable average speed, not as high as those behind as they must have 35 knots. I can see that 'Bilou' has stopped a little in this. It's the great
dorsal, which is between the depression, which I'm still in, and the one which the other group are in. I'll get held up in it this afternoon or tonight. For
two days I haven't left the cabin. Ten minutes I tried helming for yesterday but it was so cold I couldn't hold on.'

Thierry Dubois (Solidaires) : 'The sea is quite big and the boat is rolling around. No problems onboard. We have a good Westerly, and that¹s why I
gybed last night. We are in the area, where four years ago, it didn¹t turn out well, but the conditions are different, as the last time we were in a really
bad storm. I am trying not to think too much about the position where I lost my boat. I think it was further South, as we didn¹t have the Heard Island
as a waypoint.'

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool) : 'I've spent two hours making large tacks instead of gybes to progress downwind. I've got 20-25 knots of wind, there
are little gusts but it's still not the Indian Ocean sea that I know from 4 years ago. I'm bracing myself for the full on Pacific Ocean swells.' As for
Christmas and the New Year: 'These shouldn't be celebrated alone but with loved ones. Crossing the Equator or Cap Leeuwin or Cape Horn are more
for us out here occasions to have a party!'

Didier Munduteguy (DDP-60èmes Sud): 'Yesterday I had 25 knots, today 20 and the barometer is higher, so no problem. For Christmas I will think a lot
about my children, but I will certainly drink some Champagne as well! Onboard you don¹t really realise it¹s Christmas time.'

Javier Sanso (Old Spice) in a telex: 'Whatever I hit I don¹t know if it damaged the other rudder, I don¹t think so but it¹s a possibility that I could end up
with no rudders. Then it would be a serious problem for the boat. I am going North to reach higher latitudes quickŠI have 3300 miles to sail. It should
be okay, my team is already building one new rudderŠI will try to finish outside the race but around the world aloneŠMy moral is gone and I find
myself in a state of real depression.'

Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear) : 'I haven¹t taken any risks yet but I am not bothered after two months at sea (nota: 43 days in fact) ! For Christmas
day and New Year¹s Eve I have a special menu from a famous French cook, Le Notre, but it¹s a complete surprise. It¹s annoying, as you have to stay
near the autopilot remote control all the time. The boat luffs and then bears away. There are more gusts. It¹s really hard to keep a regular pace. Not
easy, and tiring. I should pass Cap Leeuwin tomorrow.'


Latest Ranking* polled at 0930hrs (UT):

Psn Boat Skipper Lat Long Headg Av. Speed** DTF*** Miles from leader

1 PRB Michel Desjoyeaux 47°38'S 120°45'E 82 9.9 12983 0
2 Sill Matines & La Potagère Roland Jourdain 48°55'S 116°54'E 82 12.3 13066 83
3 Sodebo Savourons la Vie Thomas Coville 50°50'S 108°46'E 75 11.5 13269 286
4 Kingfisher Ellen MacArthur 51°08'S 107°37'E 115 16 13319 336
5 Active Wear Marc Thiercelin 48°54'S 106°23'E 53 15.2 13412 429
6 Solidaires Thierry Dubois 51°18'S 103°22'E 114 13.9 13456 473
7 Union Bancaire Privée Dominique Wavre 49°54'S 100°23'E 120 12.1 13593 610
8 Whirlpool Catherine Chabaud 47°06'S 101°16'E 127 12.7 13652 669
9 Aquitaine Innovations Yves Parlier 48°47'S 99°10'E 81 5.46 13655 672
10 EBP - Défi PME - Gartmore Josh Hall 46°48'S 95°06'E 141 12.3 13868 885
11 Voilà.fr Bernard Gall

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