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1 March 2005, 04:20 pm
At The Extreme Of Their Passion
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Vendée Globe

Four competitors are left battling against the elements which are making then pay dearly for each mile they make towards the Vendée coast.
From Karen LEIBOVICI on Benefic, over 2000 miles from the finish, to Benoît PARNAUDEAU, 450 miles from Les Sables d'Olonne, you have to admire the courage and determination of the four sailors still racing this Vendée Globe. Nearly a month after the arrival of the winner Vincent RIOU, two women and two men are still making their way onwards.

A dejected Karen LEIBOVICI is still struggling through a seemingly meteorological magma, which has imprisoned her off Senegal for the past five days. The young skipper will come within the 2000 miles of the finish today, though she is well aware of the extra miles she will need to make when beating into what is proving to be a particularly cruel forecast.

PARNAUDEAU aboard Max Havelaar Best Western is expected in Les Sables d'Olonne on Thursday, though after a violent gust, he is today picking his way through some very light winds. Deliverance is in sight now for PARNAUDEAU and his bow is finally pointing towards home.

Anne LIARDET on Roxy is finally sailing on a northerly course abeam of Lisbon, her great sense of humour a particular asset in such conditions. The wind is unstable both in strength and direction, though the same cannot be said of the seas with a long swell from Ireland making some very lumpy conditions for Roxy. 'I'm being tossed about between two squalls' she explained earlier, having fixed Sunday as her arrival in Les Sables d'Olonne.

On Akena Verandas Raphaël DINELLI is also savouring more favourable beam winds and is finally able to make good speed on a direct course. He hopes to stay on the same point of sail for at least the next 24 hours, before he heads east of the Azores and into a strong north easterly headwind with the seas running against him.

Back on shore since his finish last Friday, American Bruce SCHWAB has decided to lift his boat out of the water tomorrow to coat the bulb and the keel. Prior to the start SCHWAB cut away the little winglets fixed to the bulb but didn't have the time to give the bulb a thorough going over. The work on Ocean Planet is only likely to take a day.

Event Media (as amended by ISAF), Image: © Benoît PARNAUDEAU/Event Media
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