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WILL TIME WAIT FOR GOLDING & TIDE WAIT FOR DUBOIS?

by Philippe Jeantot on 27 Feb 2001
The British contingency is back in Les Sables d¹Olonne, as Mike Golding (Team Group 4) is the next skipper in the Vendée Globe race rankings expected to arrive mid-week. Not
forgetting that Golding originally left 8 days and 4 hours after the rest of the fleet, the big question is whether or not he will arrive before 1548hrs and 49 seconds, on Wednesday 28th
February. Only then will he succeed in his goal to record the fourth fastest time overall, ahead of 4th placed Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear), which would be some consolation for this
formidable skipper, who was originally considered a favourite to win.

Golding¹s gradual progress Northwards is by no means effortless in the flukey, upwind conditions prevailing offshore near Cape Finisterre. Just a few degrees further in latitude, he
anticipates a better wind to bring him straight home, but meanwhile is finding these last few days ultimately the hardest part of the race. 'The times I do get to sail on the direct route are
short and sweet. I have no fuel and am left with only pasta to eat for breakfast, lunch & dinner! I¹m going at 9.5 ­ 10 knots on port tack. I changed from genoa to staysail 3 times last
night, it¹s a real nightmare to have to sail through these conditionsŠ'

Bernard Gallay (Voilà.fr) holds a tenuous 20 mile lead over Josh Hall (EBP/Gartmore), bizarrely in sight of each other for a while over the weekend. 'It was quite amusing, and we spoke
over the VHF. Moreover, Josh and I learned to sail with Robin Knox-Johnston, two old pupils neck and neck!' Hall himself has confidence in the upwind performance of his boat, so
that when the wind does return, he hopes to pull ahead of Gallay again in the final stretch. To be witnessing such a close match, with still an unpredictable outcome after more than 100
days of racing, is keeping the edge of this Vendée Globe sharp.

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool), in view of the 40 ­ 50 storm force winds and big seas expected tonight, has taken refuge in La Coruna until the cold front has swept through. 'With an
under-canvassed boat and a jury rig, which is not a hundred percent tenable, it seemed a sensible idea to stop again. We shall definitely get off again on Wednesday morning.' She
hopes to get to Les Sables d¹Olonne by Friday.

Meanwhile on land, everyone is now preparing for Thierry Dubois (Solidaires) to arrive tonight before the tide bars him from entering the port after 2130hrs local time. He is optimistic
about this latest ETA, sailing at an average speed of 13 knots right now.

ETA¹s:

Thierry Dubois (Solidaires) ­ Monday 26th @ 2030hrs local time
Mike Golding (Team Group 4) ­ Wednesday @ midnight
Bernard Gallay (Voila.fr) and Josh Hall (EBP/Gartmore) ­ Thursday
Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool) - Friday


Radio Chat:

Bernard Gallay (Voila.fr): 'I saw Josh Hall! It was quite amusing, and we spoke over the VHF. Moreover, Josh and I learned to sail with Robin Knox-Johnston, two old pupils neck and
neck! I¹m 240 miles from Mike Golding, so I might be able to come back on himŠbut I can¹t forget that Josh is only 20 miles behind!'

Mike Golding (Team Group 4): 'It¹s still so difficult to say what¹s going to happen, the wind is so flukey in force & direction. The times I do get to sail on the direct route are short and
sweet. So it¹s not easy for me to make an ETA, even for the next 24 hours. I have food but no sugar, and no fuel. I am left with only pasta to eat for breakfast, lunch & dinner! I¹ll be
speaking Italian soon! I¹m sailing under 1 reef and the staysail. The wind is too flukey so I¹m keeping one reef in. I¹m going at 9.5 ­ 10 knots on port tack. I changed from genoa to
staysail 3 times last night, a real nightmare to have to sail through such weather, I spend my time shouting and swearing!'

Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool): 'We¹ve decided to stop at La Coruna as there are storm force winds coming across the Bay of Biscay, expected to hit 40 ­ 50 knots tomorrow night.
With an under-canvassed boat and a jury rig, which is not a hundred percent tenable, it seemed a sensible idea to stop again. We shall definitely get off again on Wednesday morning.
I still have 340 miles to go before reaching the finish line in Les Sables d¹Olonne. I don¹t think I¹ll get here before Friday now.'

Josh Hall (EBP/Gartmore) by email: 'Yesterday was great - powering upwind on course, but as anticipated we have arrived in the narrow ridge that is between us and the favourable
north winds that are just 2 degrees to the east. It was fun to chat with Bernard the other day and to be in sight of each other. It was amazing - we were less than 1 mile apart when a huge
cloud descended on us and the difference in wind direction we each had separated us immediately.'

Pasquale de Gregorio (Wind) by telex: 'I am in a good mood ­ I only wish I had a cigar at hand! I am still having a little problem to solve with the mainsail batten terminal, which is
scratching the mast. Yesterday I scotched it well as to protect it but it hasn't been enough, so I'll have to come up with a different system and lower the mainsail once more. Concerning
my personal disinfection, it was hard but finally I took a shower. I cut only the beard but not the hair. I can really feel I am getting away from the roaring 40's; today I calculated that, as
a whole, I spent in the big South two months and a half. Not bad as a first time.'

Latest Ranking* polled at 0800hrs (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 47°08'N 05°55'W 40 13 168
7 Team Group 4 Mike Golding 41°39'N 13°12'W 57 9.01 579
8 Voilà.fr Bernard Gallay 41°30'N 19°46'W 90 6.29 835
9 EBP - Défi PME - Gartmore Josh Hall 41°34'N 20°28'W 103 1.61 857
10 Nord Pas de Calais - Chocolats du Monde Joe Seeten 33°05'N 24°11'W 44 7.43 1309
11 VM Matériaux Patrice Carpentier 29°53'N 30°12'W 47 11 1675
12 Aquarelle.com Simone Bianchetti 16°48'N 37°26'W 14 6.61 2518
13 Aquitaine Innovations Yves Parlier 00°30'S 33°33'W 346 8.54 3334
14 DDP - 60ème Sud Didier Munduteguy 20°02'S 34°17'W 23 7.56 4472
15 Wind Pasquale de Gregorio 35°52'S 42°55'W 23 7.54 5528

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