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NeilPryde Sailing Mens Elite Firewire 1mm Long John
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Last Vendee Globe boat around Cape Horn

by Philippe Jeantot on 17 Feb 2001

The anticyclone centred over Ireland may be bringing the North Easterly breeze and good weather over the Atlantic coastline, but is not bringing the right conditions to the skippers
still on the race course in their final stage of the Vendée Globe.

Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear) has been heavily penalised, forced to tack square to the wind offshore. He has even passed to the North the latitude of Les Sables d¹Olonne, and as the
wind shifts back to the South East, he is approaching Les Sables at more than 10 knots speed but 40 degrees from the direct route. 'At the moment I¹m heading for England! I¹m waiting
for the North Easterly shift, which will allow me to finish on the direct route to Les Sables d¹Olonne. I won¹t get there for Saturday though ­ I¹ve gone through my period of mourning
for the 100 day record. It felt bad.'

Marc Thiercelin is expected in during Sunday, however it is impossible to predict an exact timing. Depending on the wind, his home run could be either direct or a long winding road.
The same goes for the next too competitors, Dominique Wavre (Union Bancaire Privée) & Thomas Coville (Sodebo), both just under the 1000 mile mark today.

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool) on the other hand, is profiting from better winds and on a more correct heading. She is happy to see that this wind of change has been kind to her. 'My
Westerly position should be an advantage. I hope I¹ll hold on to the wind but I risk being becalmed for a day or two. It¹s motivating me to see the miles I¹m gaining.' Thanks to a
problem with her water-maker, all the freeze-dried food she eats tastes too salty, and the rainwater she has collected through her synthetic sails also has a peculiar palette. Instead of the
requisite champagne bottle at the finish Catherine admitted: 'what I really dream of is a bottle of mineral water!'

Mike Golding (Team Group 4) is no longer lacking water, but like Josh Hall (EBP/Gartmore), is running short of fuel. It is certain that these last days in the Vendée Globe will be no less
laborious for Mike, who has been having to helm a lot to economise on the autopilot power consumption. Golding couldn¹t well appreciate the 40 knot blow on his nose last night. 'I
was sailing under 3 reefs, staysail, trying to slow the boat up so that nothing would break. Now there¹s 9 ­ 10 knots, but we¹ll see a big breeze coming in again in 36 hours, Josh and I.
The wind is still variable, the sea quite rough so it won¹t be a smooth ride at all. The Atlantic is a never-ending road!' Mike lastly admitted to a shortage of cigarettes on board too ­ no
further comment needed on how tough that must be for the Œsmoking fireman¹.

Didier Munduteguy (DDP ­ 60ème Sud), a skipper in the Vendée Globe for a longer haul than those ahead of him, has managed to catch up on his sleep after his arduous Southern
Ocean experience. 'I¹m getting more pleasure out of this trip again, the stress of the Southern Ocean has disappeared. I¹ve been able to air the boat out and am just wearing a light layer
of thermal clothing now. It¹s a radical change, the sea and air temperature rising quickly. I intend to enjoy the next month of sailing and hope to bring the boat in around the 20th

Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations) was the fastest boat in the fleet this morning, at nearly 15 knots whilst everyone else was sailing at no more than 10 knots. Impressive performance
under jury rig by our Castaway skipper, Parlier, who joked: 'It¹s a jury rig, but still a racing one!'

Satellite positioning during the course was supplied by CLS ARGOS, who are now able to release the exact distances run by the top three skippers in the Vendée Globe, taking 2000
points of reference into account:

PRB: 26700 miles, at an average speed of 11.94 knots
Kingfisher: 27180 miles at an average speed of 12.02 knots
Sill Matines La Potagère: 26782 miles at an average speed of 11.61 knots
Logical Route: 23896 miles

Michel Desjoyeaux sailed the shortest course, Ellen MacArthur helmed the fastest boat. For Roland Jourdain, the data is not entirely exact due to his restart and stop-over off Cape
Horn, otherwise his average would have undoubtedly been higher

Pasquale De Gregorio, on his 50 footer (WIND), finally rounded Cape Horn at 2252hrs UT last night. The Italian skipper has been saluted by all the other competitors for spending twice
as much time in the most inhospitable domain of the Southern Ocean than everyone else. It can be stated that the weather has certainly not been as bad as it was 4 years ago, even if
skippers have encountered 70 knots at moments in the high latitudes.

The severe safety measures imposed by the Vendée Globe organisation undoubtedly have contributed to this result. A total of 16 boats out of 24 are in the rankings, and two outside,
but still on the course (Dubois & Dinelli). If one hopes to have no more abandons, two thirds of the fleet will have succeeded in their goal to achieve the toughest and longest test that
a single-handed sailor can endure, which represents a healthier figure than in some transatlantic races.

We pay homage to Nature for letting these brave skippers racing the Vendée Globe pass through the planet¹s most hostile oceans unscathed.

Radio Chat Extracts

Patrice Carpentier (VM matériaux): 'I¹m staying as close to the wind as I can now. Yesterday I spent 3 ­ 4 hours going at 42 degrees from the wind rather than 32! That lost me a few
miles in the West. Not a good 24 hours I¹d say. Joé Seeten hasn¹t been affected by the calm winds in his Easterly position, all the better for him. I headed West so as not to get trapped
and naturally have slowed up.'

Mike Golding (Team Group 4): 'We must have had up to 40 knots on the nose last night. I was sailing under 3 reefs, staysail and trying to slow the boat up so that nothing would break.
Now there¹s 9 ­ 10 knots, but we¹ll see a big breeze coming in again in 36 hours, Josh and I. The wind is still variable, the sea quite rough so it won¹t be a smooth ride at all. Not
encouraging to know that we¹ll reach the anticyclone in 3 ­ 4 days and hit calm weather again. The Atlantic is a never-ending road! Because I¹m lacking in so much fuel I am helming by
hand a great deal, which can be exhausting at times. I still have water and can make a little if need be. Food is fine, fuel isn¹t, and as for the lack of cigarettesŠwell, you smoke twice as
many in this race!'

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool) : 'I had 4 ­ 6 knots of breeze yesterday but the direction went through 90 degree shifts. I¹ve been changing from one side to the other, over a dozen
tacks in all. My Westerly position should be an advantage. I hope I¹ll hold on to the wind but I risk being becalmed for a day or two as you have to go through the system one day or
another. It¹s motivating me to see the miles I¹m gaining, I¹m still racing, even if the three top boats are now in. I should have enough drinkable water until the end. I have 25 litres in 2
jerrycans and have about 15 ­ 20 litres of rainwater. If I fix my ETA as the 23rd I have 8 more days at sea. I normally drink 5 ­ 6 litres of water a day, I am well short of supplies but it¹s
not drastic.'

Didier Munduteguy (DDP ­ 60ème Sud) : 'I intend to enjoy the next month of sailing and hope to bring the boat in around the 20th March. When I¹m working at the Port I take my
morning coffee at 0800 hrs in the square in Saint Jean de Luz, and I do miss that. The mountainside, my family and the familiar smells of home ­ I miss them all. Apart from people it¹s
more the sensations I regret.'

Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear) : 'My plan is to climb parallel to the French coastline under Brittany to the same latitude as Brest. The wind is more ESE, it would be great if it turned to
the South. I¹m looking to find the best compromise so as not to lose too much time. I¹ve gone through my period of mourning for that 100 day record. I¹d like to

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