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Allen Brothers


by Philippe Jeantot on 13 Jan 2001


Following Michel Desjoyeaux¹s (PRB) rounding of Cape Horn on Wednesday evening, the next three competitors in the Vendée Globe are
approaching the infamous rock. However, it would not be prudent to place bets yet on their order.

In fact Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear) has managed this morning to sneak ahead of Roland Jourdain (Sill Matines La Potagere) into third place
and now lies just over 200 miles from Ellen. The skipper was remarkably surprised to hear of this, and then revealed briefly his own horror story.
'My autopilot went crazy, I did a double ŒS¹. All the battens I had changed broke, I heard a big cracking noise and saw that the main sail was
torn. I spent 4 hours in total trying to repair it all.'

Holding on to second place still, Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher) reckons that she¹ll round late tonight. She still had 100 miles to go mid-morning,
and yet admitted then on the radio: 'I hope I¹ll pass Cape Horn before Marc! He could catch me up, without my gennaker!' Sail damage is some
handicap, and Ellen herself stressed how imperative it was for her to mend her ripped gennaker if she is to reach the kind of speeds necessary
to come back on PRB sailing upwind in the Atlantic. 'It¹s in 3DL so it won¹t be easy' she added.

Certainly these boats are showing signs of stress and even leader Michel Desjoyeaux, who still has his lightweight sails unlike Ellen, made a
sage remark today: 'I¹ve got a 600 mile lead, that¹s 2 and a half days. If I can¹t relax at that, when will I ever chill out! But we know that
accidents can happen at any time and the goal is to get back to Les Sables.'

If the Pacific has been living up to it¹s name for offering mild conditions to the fleet, this great ocean seems to have stirred finally, and is
already showing her true face to the second pack of boats. One final and more characteristic depression is whipping them with 45 knot winds,
and will continue to propel the boats towards Cape Horn over the next three or four days.

Dominique Wavre (UBP) expressed his utter joy at the return to top speeds and exceptional downwind surfing ­ the stuff Southern Ocean
memories are made of. 'The wind has really picked up again and the sky was thunderous yesterday. (A deafening crack sounds) Ah ha! I¹ve
just been knocked side-on by a wave there! Awesome, a good 40 degree heel in one hit! The kettle¹s still in one place though!' Wavre, an
ex-Whitbread team sailor himself, is really noticing the differences between a circumnavigation in solo mode and in a team, and highlighted the
number one enemy, which was never a problem in the Whitbread: fatigue. He puts this factor down as the reason why all the ex-Figaro sailors
like Desjoyeaux and Jourdain are leading this single-handed circumnavigation.

It takes a certain kind of skipper to manage himself and his boat through hell and high water for three months plus, alone, around the world.
Mike Golding (Team Group 4) may be someone who strikes one as an Œall work and no play¹ kind of sailor, but on the contrary! He admitted
today to be a closet DV film addict on board when he wants to switch off. 'I¹m afraid I run them to death. When I eat my evening meal I watch a
bit of a movie and then pick it up the next day.' He also cut his own hair ­ perhaps the most dangerous thing he has attempted in the race,
according to his own judgement!

Javier Sanso (Old Spice) has reached Perth, Australia, and therefore the Vendée Globe fleet is now down to 17 boats in the rankings. Sanso
intends to set off and finish the circumnavigation in the adventurous spirit of the race and in good company with Dinelli and Dubois.

Radio Chat Extracts

Dominique Wavre (Union Bancaire Privée) : 'The wind has really picked up! (A thundering crack sounds) Well, I¹ve just been knocked over by
a wave there! Awesome, a good 40 degree heel in one hit! The kettle¹s still in one place thoughŠ The sky was thunderous yesterday, a real
spectacle, at last the Pacific sights which we¹ve yearned to see! You have to look after yourself, which is different in solo mode than with a
team. The difficulty of sleeping is the major factor. When you¹re exhausted and there¹s some damage or incident to deal with you can¹t just
hand it over to the next man. You never needed to take care of yourself in the same way during a Whitbread as you were always at max
efficiency on watch. That¹s why skippers who are more in tune with a solo race like this will be the talented Figaro guys.'

Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB) : 'I¹m North of the Falklands, which I passed to the East. After passing the island it was a bit like sailing through the
Raz de Sein, there are some pretty strong currents around the Falklands. Effectively, the St Helen high is in several parts but it should come
back together. I¹ve still got one day to decide whether to go right or left. The water here is still cold as the current if from the Falklands, but the
air temperature is climbing slowly, to 10 degrees Celsius this morning. With 600 miles advance, that¹s 2 and a half day¹s lead. If I can¹t relax at
that, when will I ever chill out! But we know that accidents can happen at any time and the goal is to get back to Les Sables. I have all my light
weather sails whereas Ellen only has those for heavier winds.'

Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear) : 'My autopilot went crazy, I did a double ŒS¹. All the battens I had changed broke, I heard a big crack and saw
that the sail was torn. I spent most of the afternoon, 4 hours in total, trying to repair it all. Hopefully I was going South at 9/10 knots as there
was between 25 and 35 knots. I haven¹t lost too much and this morning I am ahead so I¹m happy.'

Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher): 'After Cape Horn, I¹ll find some good weather to repair the gennaker, but it¹s in 3DL so it won¹t be easy. I¹m
definitely under-canvassed right nowŠhappily I have my spinnaker, but upwind it won¹t be much use, so I simply have to repair my gennaker.
I¹m still 100 miles from Cape Horn, I should round this evening or tonight, I think. Mich has a 600 mile lead, it¹s a lot, and it¹ll be hard to come
back on but anything could still happen, well, it¹s still going to be tough. Marc has really got back some mileage on me! I hope I¹ll pass Cape
Horn before him! He could catch me without my gennakerŠhard to endure.'

Mike Golding (Team Group 4) : 'There¹ll be a change in the weather system, the worst case would be that we¹ll get a brief period of headwinds
and then a longer period of Northerlies, settling into Westerlies. Whichever of the two models you look at it¹s best to gain more to the East as
soon as possible rather than to the South, in order to stay away from the worst effects of the system. There is a ridge in front of us which we¹ll
all have to cross, an opportunity for me to gain on the others in front. I¹ve been watching ŒThe Rock¹ on DVD actually, I¹ve got 12 movies,
which I¹m afraid I¹ve run to death. When I eat my evening meal I watch a bit of a movie and pick it up the next day. Yesterday I managed to cut
my hair! I thought I was starting to look a little uncivilised!'

Didier Munduteguy (DDP): ' I¹m preparing myself for a three day hard blow, with winds of up to 45 knots. In two days it¹ll get worse, and as
I¹m approaching near to the islands, there are these enormous waves, not the best place to take on a storm. Time is now of the essence, and
I¹ve been at sea for more than 60 days, and the end looks far off still. The boat is great, everything is nominally working well. I should pass
Cape Horn in 25 days, so an average of 200 ­ 225 miles a day.'

Latest Ranking* polled at 0930hrs (UT):

Psn Boat Skipper Lat Long Headg Av. Speed** DTF*** Miles from leader
1 PRB Michel Desjoyeaux 51°38'S 57°20'W 46 15.8 6630 0
2 Kingfisher

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