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Vendee Globe countdown for Golding begins

by Philippe Jeantot on 26 Feb 2001
Thierry Dubois (Solidaires), the next skipper to arrive imminently in Les Sables d¹Olonne, albeit out of the official race rankings, has penetrated the Bay of Biscay surrounded with weak
winds. However, the forecast is for the wind to build and turn Northerly, ideal sailing conditions to rally the final 340 miles left into port. All being well, Dubois is expected in on
Monday afternoon, and at the latest Tuesday morning.

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool), cruelly knocked out of the race rankings after her dismasting, left the port of Vigo at 0800hrs this morning French time. Whirlpool¹s jury rig was built in
a short morning with her crew, a task which may have taken her 48 hours to complete alone at sea. The jury rig consists of a carbon-fibre spar with a gooseneck fixture, which allows
lateral and vertical movement of the boom, and a small 9.5 metre high carbon-fibre mast. Catherine cracked a lumbar vertebrae during a fall on board and so she was relieved to be taking
3 crew with her on board. She is the next in line to arrive on Tuesday.

Mike Golding (Team Group 4), off the Portugese coastline, is pushing Northwards in the light breeze blowing directly against him to get round the corner at Cap Finisterre. He expects a
Westerly flux to arrive tomorrow to carry him more swiftly to the finish line for an ETA of Wednesday. However, he must climb a few more degrees in longitude to catch this favourable
wind. If Golding crosses the line before 15:48:49 UT on Wednesday 28th February he will have beaten Marc Thiercelin¹s (Active Wear) time and be the fourth fastest around the world
in this edition of the Vendée Globe.

Sadly, his fellow British skipper, Josh Hall (EBP ­ Gartmore), has been cheated of his 8th place by Bernard Gallay ( this weekend. The French skipper has a marginal lead of 34
miles. Gallay and Hall used to crew together on the same boat under Sir Robin Knox-Johnston¹s tuition, but surely Hall is not best pleased to see his old companion ahead of him so
close to the line. Recognising that Hall has reported sail and fuel problems on board, this race is picking its victims without remorse. These two skippers are due in on Thursday,
depending on the weather conditions.

Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations) has good an bad news: 'Yesterday I covered 274 miles in 24 hours, which is excellent for my average and gets me ahead of my schedule again. I
shall re-do my ETA when out of the Doldrums. I have an advantage with this jury rig in the North East trades. Being shorter, there will be less windage, but I shall have the perfect sail
area, and so should achieve a good average speed. I am also working to adapt my genoa, a really major task but should aid my acceleration even more! However, the fishing is a total
disappointment. I¹ve only had one flying fish leap on the deck and nothing caught on the lines. So it¹s back to seaweed and freeze-dried for now.'

Joé Seeten (Nord Pas de Calais / Chocolats du monde) has reached more wind but still life at sea is precarious: 'The whole night, there were violently stormy, thunderous clouds
passing overhead, and I don¹t think I¹ve stopped working the boat on deck for the last 2 or 3 nights.' Patrice Carpentier (VM Materiaux) has boosted his morale with the return of the
wind as well. 'It¹s building gradually. I can feel my progression North with the freshening temperature. This is the first time in a week that I¹ve had some good wind. I am somewhat
frustrated about losing so much over Joé & Bernard. It¹s not surprising ­ I¹ve only sailed 300 miles in 3 days.'

Italian skipper Pasquale de Gregorio (Wind) has had to take a rain check on his 'shower and body disenfection' thanks to his boat pitching into the waves head on in 25 knot Westerly
winds. 'The Argentinean weather forecast was speaking today of a cold front behind me moving toward NE, bringing winds from NW to SW that should last all evening/night.' He is
greatly encouraged hearing about all the skippers on arrival saluting the Œgrand old man¹ of the Vendée Globe for his perseverance at the back of the fleet, with a good month at sea
still to endure on his 50 footer ŒWind¹.


Thierry Dubois (Solidaires) - Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool) ­ Tuesday evening or Wednesday

Mike Golding (Team Group 4) - Wednesday

Latest Ranking* polled at 0950hrs (UT):

Psn Boat Skipper Lat Long Headg Av. Speed** DTF***
1 PRB Michel Desjoyeaux Finish: 10 February 2008hrs 32 sec
2 Kingfisher Ellen MacArthur Finish: 11 February 2036hrs 40 sec
3 Sill Matines & La Potagère Roland Jourdain Finish: 13 February 1713hrs 33 sec
4 Active Wear Marc Thiercelin Finish: 20 February 1248hrs 49sec
5 Union Bancaire Privée Dominique Wavre Finish: 22 February 1858hrs 12sec
6 Sodebo Savourons la Vie Thomas Coville Finish: 22 February 2335hrs 0sec
- Solidaires Thierry Dubois 46°11'N 09°26'W 109 7.87 318
- Whirlpool Catherine Chabaud 42°16'N 08°54'W 293 6.17 396
7 Team Group 4 Mike Golding 40°00'N 16°04'W 75 9.23 734
8 Voilà.fr Bernard Gallay 39°23'N 22°38'W 38 8.66 1006
9 EBP - Défi PME - Gartmore Josh Hall 39°24'N 23°30'W 41 10.3 1040
10 Nord Pas de Calais - Chocolats du Monde Joe Seeten 30°30'N 27°14'W 50 10.2 1521
11 VM Matériaux Patrice Carpentier 26°46'N 33°15'W 36 10.6 1901
12 Simone Bianchetti 14°01'N 37°06'W 346 10.2 2632
13 Aquitaine Innovations Yves Parlier 04°11'S 33°24'W 6 10.6 3528
15 Wind Pasquale de Gregorio 38°50'S 45°03'W 32 8.83 5724

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