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Gul 2019 Carrier LEADERBOARD


by Philippe Jeantot on 3 Feb 2001
The Vendée Globe Race HQ were shocked to read the announcement from Kingfisher Challenges this morning that Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher) had collided with a submerged object
two days ago ­ without doubt a container. 'I was sailing along, the sun was starting to set, and everything was fine, conditions were quite stable, and then all of a sudden there was the
most almighty crunching sound and the boat felt like she had hit land. As I glanced behind the boat to see what I had hit I saw part of the rudder and the daggerboard floating away. It
was a gut wrenching moment. I imagined I might have ripped the bottom of the boat out, the noise was so loud. So I immediately ran through the boat, checking in all the watertight
compartments that there was no water in there. I spent a great deal of time getting the broken daggerboard out and then replacing it with the starboard one.'

Kingfisher has two lateral daggerboards at mast level, which are essential for upwind sailing conditions. These are fortunately interchangeable. The great difficulty for Ellen was to get
the broken one out, as it appeared to have jammed, and then transfer the starboard one across. Throughout this arduous operation Ellen continued to head upwind so as lose as little
ground as possible. Trying to manhandle a daggerboard twice her height and 1.5 times her weight, with the hull on a 20° gradient and slamming into each wave, was no mean feat. It has
drawn on all her available energy & emotion.

At the other end of her ordeal now, Ellen remarked: 'I went beyond what I thought were my limits, but after all the work was done at the end of the day, Kingfisher was back sailing at her
maximum. I¹ve nearly got her racing to her full potential. The damaged rudder is less effective but I can¹t do anything much about that. Now, I¹m back in the race. This incident has lost
me 40 miles and there¹s still another 2400 to go to the finish.'

ŒUnidentified Floating Objects¹ are more and more numerous these days. Roland Jourdain (Sill Matines La Potagere) made his own insightful comment on this: 'I don¹t know how true
this story is but it¹s a big debate, whether the container ships just deliberately jet their cargo into the water to retain their balance in bad weather.' Ellen¹s collision was one of those
incidents nobody could possible predict, another blow dealt by the sea.

Meanwhile the race continues. Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB) maintains his lead, at 78 miles this morning, and is looking ahead at the next weather system. 'Here you have your hands tied,
it¹s simply a question of going upwind. Right now I¹m focusing on my tactical position compared to where my friends are on the water. I prefer for the moment to get myself to the right,
to protect my right side.'

Jourdain echoes his sentiments about this type of monotonous navigation: 'The boat just crashes into every wave, but the inaction is weighing heavier on my mind. None of us can
escape the fact that our boats have sailed more than 20000 miles and we¹re all paranoid about something breaking. It¹s an uncomfortable feeling' For him it is the anxiety ovr his mast
track repair and the fact that he frequently has the main sail set at the first reefing level - the point where his repair is ­ in these 20 knot winds.

Dominique Wavre (Union Bancaire Privée) has been watching Thomas Coville (Sodebo) creep back and even slip ahead by 4 miles in the rankings as he himself tries to remain calm in the
light airs he has been plagued with. 'I¹ve covered less than 42 miles in the last 24 hours. It¹s a kind of extension of the Doldrums. I hit a brick wall and stopped, sails flapping. There¹s
nothing here but the swell. I have to be so patient to really keep the boat going if I want to get out of this hole.' Next up, the Doldrums. Wavre is finding it hard to think about the finish,
let alone make an ETA for the Equator at his current speed.

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool) is having her endurance tested as well. She may be recharged to see the pair ahead slowing right down, but is finding the navigation uncomfortable: 'I
haven¹t slept much last night. During the squalls, the wind changes direction and intensity, and I need to keep up the manoeuvres and stock some freshwater too.' She is making
progress with the repairs to her water-maker in the meantime.

Mike Golding (Team Group 4) is holding a slim 3 mile advantage over Josh Hall (EBP/Gartmore) again, and sitting in the East of his fellow Brit. He seems to be finally rid of his own water
problems now as in the nightly downpour he stocked up more than enough to get him home. One minor incident overnight, though, was that the bottom two car slides on the luff of the
mainsail broke. While he is looking to make his last tack in the Southern Atlantic today, Hall is looking forward to pulling out the North Atlantic charts ­ home waters at last.

Russian skipper, Fedor Konyoukhov (Modern Univeersity for the Humanities), has arrived in Sydney, Australia, today at 1400hrs local time. In good spirits, he was still sad to now be at
the end of his global challenge.

It is still too early to announce a more precise arrival time of the winner in Les Sables d¹Olonne. Only when they leading boat has got through the last weather hurdle in the shape of the
Azores anticyclone, will we be able to confirm an arrival date. We are still resting on our loose prediction that the winner will arrive in the bay of Les Sables from the 10th February.

Radio Chat Extracts

Dominique Wavre (Union Bancaire Privée) : 'I¹ve covered less than 42 miles in the last 24 hours. I¹m totally becalmed. It¹s a kind of extension of the Doldrums, a high pressure system. I
hit a brick wall and stopped. There¹s nothing here but the swell. Psychologically, the finish seems such a long way off when you are stuck here and your friends have shot off ahead.
We¹ll make some progress and then cross the Doldrums at slower speed again. You have to be so patient to really keep the boat going well.'

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool) : 'I haven¹t slept a lot last night. During the squalls, the wind changes direction and intensity , and I need to stock some freshwater. After the squalls
there is usually no wind. Last night I was woken up two times because of that. I would like to come back on Thomas and Dominique, and I am looking at Auguin¹s timings. My objective
is to finish quicker than him, and at the moment it is still good. Today is meant to be a good day for Christophe, so he is going to pass me but after he is going to be stuck in the
Doldrums. Thomas hasn¹t got any intermediary sails, not good for going upwind. Water wise, I haven¹t got enough to finish, I have reduced to 2 litres per day when I normally drink 5
per day.'

Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB): 'With what has happened to Ellen, it¹s tough, there¹s no instrument to detect these objectsŠit¹s really such a lottery out here, you have to cross your fingers.
At the least she has been able to repair the damage. Of course I wouldn¹t want that to happen to me! We¹ll soon be in whale country, nearing the Azores. You can¹t see them very well
when it¹s wavy, but in light airs you can hear them and then you realise that there¹s quit a lot of animals under the sea. Right now I¹m focusing on my tactical position compared to where
my friends are on the water. I prefer for the moment to get myself to the right, to protect my right side.'

Roland Jourdain (Sill Matines la Potagère) : 'It¹s noisy when the boat crashes on each wave, but the inaction is weighing heavier on my mind. With PRB & Kingfisher, we¹re the best
boats upwind. Thiercelin will find it harder but none of us can escape the fact that our boats have sailed more than 20000 miles and we¹re all paranoid about something breaking. Bravo
Ellen! To have hit a container, break a daggerboard & damage a rudder and to be up where she is in the fleet still! It¹s a big debate, whether the container ships just delib

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