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31 December 2004, 07:15 am
Vendée Fleet To Cross With Global Challengers
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Vendée Globe

Day 54 and yesterday Nick MOLONEY on SKANDIA spoke with Vendee race control telling them, 'it was great to cross the Dateline - puts you in the right frame of mind to finish - before that, you really feel like you are half way around the world and going backwards. Now, I feel I am just get closer and closer.'
At the latest sked, SKANDIA continues to maintain seventh, but dropping back to be 560 nautical miles behind VIRBAC (Jean Pierre DICK) as he sails away in the storm. Nick's Nearest competitor behind him, excluding PROFORM (Mark THIERCELIN), is ARCELOR (Joe SEETEN), which is 547 miles to the west.

SKANDIA has hung onto the wind longer than expected, but Nick is likely to fall out of the back of the low pressure system ahead of him shortly. This same system, 1000 miles to his south east, is giving VMI (Sébastien JOSSE), TEMENOS (Dominique WAVRE) and VIRBAC a real pasting.

TEMENOS reported 50 to 55 knots of wind this morning, and even the vastly experienced Wavre explained that he was in 'survival mode'.

Skandia is in a relatively complex situation between a high pressure system to his north east and two areas of low pressure. One way or another, the next Southern Ocean depression will swing along at some point and take him with it to the east, Cape Horn some 3,500 miles away.

At the front of the race, the leaders expect to be at Cape Horn by Monday. BONDUELLE (Jean LE CAM) continues to hold a substantial 194 mile lead, and second place PRB (Vincent RIOU) has re-extended his lead on ECOVER (Mike GOLDING) to 85 miles, as Golding was forced to gybe to the north-east.

The pit stop update: VM MATERIAUX (Patrice CARPENTIER) is still working away in a little bay in the south east of Tasmania; repair work nearing completion.

Marc THIERCELIN had 'the worst 48 hours possible,' as he made his way in steep seas, but now in light airs, towards Christchurch (east coast of New Zealand), he will make a decision as to whether to accept external assistance or not (which would disqualify him from the race).

Back on SKANDIA, Nick was quite happy to hear that 300 miles on his bow are the Global Challenge fleet, themselves racing round the world - but the 'wrong' way (east to west, against the prevailing winds). They are on their way to Wellington having just crossed the Southern Ocean from Cape Horn.

Rankings as of Friday, December 31, 2004 - 04h00 GMT (05:00 AM FR)

Lat

Long

DTF

DTL

Btspd

Hdg

Time

1

Bonduelle
Jean Le Cam

55 39.80' S

98 17.12' W

8054.4

0.0

14.2

099

03:30 AM

2

PRB
Vincent Riou

56 00.12' S

107 03.78' W

8315.4

261.0

11.6

058

01:01 AM

3

Ecover
Mike Golding

57 09.72' S

108 39.84' W

8366.1

311.7

13.8

074

03:30 AM

4

VMI
Sébastien Josse

53 39.48' S

128 13.60' W

9064.1

1009.8

14.8

082

03:30 AM

5

Temenos
Dominique Wavre

51 39.08' S

144 58.88' W

9677.3

1622.9

15.5

079

03:30 AM

6

Virbac-Paprec
Jean-Pierre Dick

51 19.64' S

155 23.24' W

10042.6

1988.2

15.8

122

03:30 AM

7

Skandia
Nick Moloney

47 38.64' S

170 39.44' W

10670.6

2616.2

12.3

066

03:30 AM

8

Arcelor Dunkerque
Joé Seeten

48 12.76' S

170 26.28' E

11293.4

3239.0

2.9

199

03:32 AM

9

Pro-Form
Marc Thiercelin

43 51.44' S

172 55.80' E

11359.6

3305.2

8.3

341

03:30 AM

10

Ocean Planet
Bruce Schwab

47 53.08' S

160 07.92' E

11657.6

3603.2

9.4

083

03:30 AM

11

Hellomoto
Conrad Humphreys

53 19.32' S

152 33.12' E

11758.7

3704.4

13.7

085

03:30 AM

12

Max Havelaar / Best Western
Benoît Parnaudeau

53 10.04' S

149 56.68' E

11847.3

3792.9

11.0

106

03:30 AM

13

ROXY
Anne Liardet

48 44.28' S

145 27.48' E

12126.1

4071.8

12.7

102

03:30 AM

14

VM Matériaux
Patrice Carpentier

43 37.32' S

146 56.94' E

12247.8

4193.4

3.8

161

01:01 AM

15

AKENA Vérandas
Raphaël Dinelli

45 54.76' S

125 35.68' E

12874.4

4820.0

10.5

105

03:30 AM

16

Benefic
Karen Leibovici

44 31.84' S

118 09.76' E

13179.6

5125.2

8.3

080

03:30 AM

Skandia Media (As Amended by ISAF)
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