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23 December 2004, 08:52 am
The Ecover Comeback
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Vendee Globe

Jean Le CAM (Bonduelle) has a 50 mile lead this morning over Vincent RIOU (PRB). Mike GOLDING (Ecover), third, is 288 miles from the head of the fleet. He and VMI have got back 30 miles on the leaders overnight. The leaders passed the ante-meridian yesterday night and this morning they´re 610 miles from the western tip of the next gateway and… 3 270 miles from Cape Horn. Repairs are envisaged by Patrice CARPENTIER (VM Matériaux).
Upwind and more upwind...Jean Le CAM (Bonduelle) and Vincent RIOU (PRB) are making seven knot averages in headwinds. 177 miles have been covered in 24 hours by the frontrunner, 151 miles for the second, the easterly wind persisting.
The good news of the night, is that there is no news ! The zone of ice encountered yesterday is perhaps but a bad memory as no other presence of icebergs has been reported for the past 12 hours. One interesting thing is the comeback made by Mike GOLDING (Ecover) and Sébastien JOSSE (VMI) on the leading group. Sébastien JOSSE has managed to stop the haemorrhage of miles with regards Mike and has limited his deficit to 25 miles this morning, and the duo have also been able to come back on the head of the fleet. Mike and Sébastien have got back 30 miles on the leader this morning and it's not over yet. The wind is turning progressively south for the two pursuers while ahead Jean and Vincent are going to hit a zone of erratic winds which will be difficult to control. What this means is that they will be able to make an increasingly direct course behind while the leaders continue in headwinds…
The next 36 hours may well provide a fine opportunity to get right back into contact. 'After a bit of respite and reflection, I have decided to continue my normal race course. I've made a work schedule to repair this damn boom which comprises cutting up part of the spinnaker pole and then adjusting it to use as an insert so as to join the two pieces of the boom and then make it rigid from the outside with the help of some spare mainsail battens. This repair will enable me to sail with two reefs in the mainsail which is less painful…' Patrice CARPENTIER (VM Matériaux) sent a long letter to the Race Management overnight explaining the situation. He will continue his Vendée Globe even though he knows his steed is injured. 'I consider that the Vendée Globe is a real and fantastic adventure for all those who love the sea and competition. As with any adventure, there are difficult moments where you have to dig deep into your resources'. Patrice is currently 646 miles to the south of Albany in Australia.
The best performance is once again Jean-Pierre DICK (Virbac-Paprec) who has got back 130 miles over the past 24 hours on fifth placed Dominique WAVRE (Temenos). Jean-Pierre has covered 363 miles in 24 hours at an average of 15 knots. He is sailing in a powerful northerly wind veering north, though he too will also hit a surprising high pressure spot under Tasmania which is distilling a northerly wind over the west coast and a southerly wind on the eastern coast
Event Media (As Amended by ISAF)
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