The Horn Ahead
1500 HRS GMT. Rankings, Tuesday 30th December 2008
1. Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) at + 9233 miles
2. Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) at + 58 miles
3. Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux) at + 342.9 miles
4. Vincent Riou (PRB) at + 551.9 miles
5. Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) at + 559.5 miles
7. Sam Davies, GBR, (ROXY) at + 1638.4 miles
9. Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) at + 2291.4 miles
11. Dee Caffari, GBR, (AVIVA) at + 2380.3 miles
12. Steve White, GBR, (Toe in the Water) at + 3050.5 miles
13. Johnny Malbon, GBR, (Artemis) at + 3932 miles
14. Rich Wilson, USA, (Great American III) at + 4009.6 miles
15. Norbert Sedlacek, AUT, (Nauticsport.Kapsch) + 5000.3 miles
- With around one week of sailing left in the Pacific Ocean for the leaders, there is now the opportunity to enjoy some fast sailing in more regular sea conditions, and even some sunshine.
- Roland Jourdain (Veolia Enevironnement) continues to hang on to leader Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) who has lead for 14 consecutive days, longer than any other skipper in this remarkable sixth Vendée Globe. Jourdain is 58 miles behind.
- Sam Davies, GBR, (Roxy) is seventh, top international skipper.
- Marc Guillemot (Safran) has further damage to mainsail mast track.
- For the leaders and those in pursuit Cape Horn starts to occupy the thoughts. The final major milestone, both feared and revered, it marks the big left turn for home.
Of course they know that the South Atlantic can kick up some ferocious, boat breaking conditions, but the psychological frontier will be welcomed as much by the leader – Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) who has 2100 miles to sail to the third great Cape, whilst Norbert Sedlacek, AUT (Nauticsport-Kapsch) 5000 miles astern, should pass Cape Leeuwin tonight or early tomorrow, and Raphael Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) some time later. Jonny Malbon’s (Artemis II) penance in the Indian Ocean should be over tonight as well as has less than 100 miles to run to breach the Pacific highway.
Desjoyeux has lead for 14 days now, and only now again have the leaders speeds been back up close to those the Foncia skipper was pushing when he passed the stricken Mike Golding back on 16th December.
In truth it is has been Roland Jourdain who had been quickest over the 24h this morning, making 446 miles to 0930hrs GMT, twenty miles shy of unofficial race record which Desjoyeaux set, averaging 19.1 knots, 2.1 miles short of Alex Thomson’s outright 2003 record.
And with almost 300 miles now to the third placed Jean Le Cam, the immediate pressure is reduced on the leaders momentarily, although Desjoyeaux is well acquainted with the mechanical and meteorological pitfalls that can happen between here and the finish.
Marc Guillemot (Safran) may have had more of a psychological roller coaster than many of the 15 other skippers remaining in this race, but as he reported this morning that his mast track is damaged again in a different place, he is still objective, upbeat and able to relish the very positive, life affirming and totally unique experiences that this race has already given him, even if he cannot wait to be back in Les Sables d’Olonne.
Two British skippers are getting down to the serious business of repairs this evening, thankfully both fall into the categories of time consuming, distracting and challenging, but neither is race threatening.
Brian Thompson on Bahrain Team Pindar has issues with his generator, and spent most of last night (NZ time) trying to fix his primary generator before substituting it with his back up, which appeared to have a similar problem. And Steve White, (Toe in the Water) was seizing the opportunity of a sudden full Technicoloured weather window to fix his mangled goose-neck.
Derek Hatfield, CAN, (Algimouss Spirit of Canada) has been taken aback by the huge level of support, the thousands of e-mails which have been directed to his team since he announced his retirement yesterday.
Derek Hatfield, CAN, (Algimouss Spirit of Canada)
When I saw the spreaders hanging there it is gut wrenching, you know almost immediately that the race is over, because it is not something you can go up there and fix, the rig is under immense load, but it took me a day or day and half, to rebound from the shock of that, to look at some solutions, and I had the mast builder, and different people looking at it, and thinking can you fix this thing. Everybody came back and said it is impossible. You can go up and fix it to secure it as a jury rig, but not for racing, there is no more racing. We don’t want to put other people at risk by going on, so it is time to go ashore and call it a day, and live to fight another day.
I am getting on in age but I still have a lot of fight, a lot of competition in me and that is the intention, but we have to assess when we get in and of course money is always a big factor. We need to find sponsors, but I would like to continue with the programme, to represent Canada, to be on the IMOCA circuit and as you can see from this event, it is just an amazing thing, it just unbelievably grabs the imagination of the whole world, and the outpouring of support and and the thousands of e-mails from Canada have just been, that Patianne has been getting from all around Canad and all around the world, just saying we have done and amazing good job and there is nothing to be ashamed of and please continue, and that is pretty good for us>
Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar): Yesterday I started charging and the alternator charged for a little while and then it just stopped, and so I spent all last night working on it with the shore team and most of today, and then today swapped it with another one we have got and that did not seem to be working either, so now I am going back to looking to fix the first one and see if there is a linked problem, because it is always a worrying thing when you might run low on electricity, but I have the wind generator and the solar panels, but at the moment I am running on quite low power, giving us the most time possible to see what the problem is.
I have just been a bit distracted, spending too much time with my head in the engine room, so I was not able to change sails with every wind change though. Trying to sail fast and do repairs at the same time is just all part of the fun and games of the Vendée Globe.
Steve White, GBR, (Toe in the Water) on his plans to repair his goose-neck: “ I have to make some bits up by glueing some battens together, make some holes in the deck. I have to lash the whole thing down through the deck to the keel-box, so I have to add some strong points to the keel box, so laminate those on, laminate the battens together and that will take care of most of it. And so I will just have a bit of a go and see if I get the bit sorted out of the big bearing pin which has called all the grief in the first place, and if I can do that then I can probably through bolt it, but that is the bit we don’t know about at the moment. I have a repair that will work if we can’t get that out, so I am pretty confident. The only thing if we can get it done before the breeze comes in from the North East.”