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Vendee Globe Leader around Cape Horn

by Philippe Jeantot on 11 Jan 2001
Current leader of the 18 strong fleet in the Vendée Globe, Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB), passed in view of Cape Horn at 1807 hours UT on the 63rd day of racing at sea. At this stage he lies
600 miles ahead of second placed Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher), translating to approximately two days sailing.

Michel Desjoyeaux also can count 3 days and 18 hours lead over the current record established by Christophe Auguin on ŒGeodis¹ in the last edition of the Vendée Globe in 1997.

Desjoyeaux crossed the Cape of Good Hope on December 7th at 2300hrs UT and so he has spent approximately 34 days in the Southern Ocean. ŒPRB¹ now has 7100 miles to climb until
reaching the finish in Les Sables d¹Olonne.

One should note that this talented French skipper has not ever completed a race longer than a transatlantic. In comparison, the previous 3 skippers, who rounded in the lead at Cape
Horn and all went on to win the Vendée Globe as well, had at least one circumnavigation under their belt. Titouan Lamazou counted a BOC Challenge, Alain Gautier one Vendée and a
BOC, and Christophe Auguin two BOC Challenges.

On the 9th January 1997 at 1000hrs Auguin in 'Geodis' sailed passed the Horn after 66 days and 22 hours at sea. He had spent a little more than 38 days navigating between the Cape of
Good Hope and Cape Horn. His nearest rival was Hervé Laurent, more than 2000 miles behind him.

In 1993, Gautier in ŒBagages Superior¹ crossed the Horn after 75 days and 15 hours at sea and 41 days in the Southern Ocean. His nearest rival was 350 miles away, Philippe Poupon in
Fleury Michon. In 1990 Lamazou in ŒEcureuil d'Aquitaine¹ crossed the longitude of Cape Horn after 74 days and 15 hours at sea. Jean-Luc Van Den Heede was only 230 miles behind.

Radio Chat Extract

Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB): 'It¹s pelting down all around me, it¹s like a monsoon overhead! Well, it was about 15/20 minutes ago that I passed by a rather famous rock. It was somewhat of
a great relief! I had been trying to manoeuvre around the Chilean coastline, and I¹ve done it ­ I¹ve passed Cape Horn! It¹s been tiring, the weather isn¹t top, 30/35 knots in the squalls. I¹ve
not even had the time to sip some champagne!

'Since this morning, there have been plenty of nasty gusts, and with a dense cloudy bank hanging above it was hard to distinguish the squalls and you don¹t want a surprise. I may not
be at full speed but I¹m staying alert!

'To see land confirms at least that the GPS works!!! We¹ve seen various Islands since the race started: Crozet, Kerguelens, Macquarie and this, the final landmark in the Vendée Globe. It
was pretty cloudy at first and then I said to myself: 'Oh, that looks quite dark over there, it can¹t be a cloud!'

'The distance (in front of Ellen MacArthur on Kingfisher) will allow me to look forward. I shall be able to look over things for a few days, especially all the equipment aboard. I¹ll check
over the rig and the engine, the two weakest parts of the boat in terms of security. I¹ll not relax for a moment until I see the finishing flag.'

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