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16 November 2004, 10:04 am
Close At The Front
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Vendée Globe 2004

There is a reduced discrepancy in latitude amongst the frontrunners this morning with less than 80 miles (around 150 km) between the top 6, the leaders options in this 5th Vendée Globe really coming off well.
Jean Le CAM (Bonduelle)has stretched out his lead to 42.4 miles over Vincent RIOU (PRB), with Alex THOMSON just 7 miles in his wake in third. The passage of the doldrums should be performed at 26 degrees of longitude west and the glide towards the bottleneck has not upset the general ranking up front. A different story for the chasing pack however, and those shifting sneakily over to the west immediately that the last rankings fell last night cost two competitors two places, namely Australian Nick MOLONEY and Patrice CARPENTIER, now 9 and 10.

The wind is still hanging in there, between 10 and 15 knots though it has veered slightly round from full east to south east enabling the sailors to descend on a direct southerly course. Alex Thomson is clearly on a roll with the skipper of Hugo Boss gaining twenty miles on Vincent RIOU overnight through the same option as Bonduelle. Raphaêl DINELLI, Anne LIARDET, Benoit PARNAUDEAU and Karen Leibovici have decided to get up close to the Cape Verde islands, slaloming around the summits throughout the day. Nick Moloney has been having a secret double gybe overnight, in the cooler temperature, so as to shift over onto the same latitude as his playmates, manoeuvres that have cost him over fifty miles. As a result, Jean Pierre Dick and Dominique Wavre have managed to make up ground in 7th and 8th thanks to their more rectilinear trajectories.

A crucial and rather nerve-racking day seems to be on the cards for the leaders of the fleet. Not very active according to the weather files, the doldrums are likely to create their fair share of surprises as Jean Le Cam said yesterday. The gateway to the equator and the southern Atlantic seems partly open today. It has to be taken...
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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