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17 November 2004, 11:06 am
The Doldrums Perform
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Vendée Globe 2004
Round The World

The doldrums have performed their job well, preventing the skippers from sailing straight to their goal. As a result the trajectories are erratic and the headings surprising, shuffling the ranking cards.
"King Jean" (Le Cam) continues his reign over the impetuous Vincent (Riou), but the duel behind them between Sébastien JOSSE and English sailor Alex THOMSON has been won by the Frenchman, for the time being at least...

Behind them Patrice CARPENTIER has tumbled down the rankings in a rather odd easterly option while Karen LEIBOVICI has now stretched out her lead over the other female sailor in the race by around 30 miles overnight after Anne LIARDET'S slalom through the Cape Verde islands.

The skippers, who admitted to not having slept much in the past few days are unlikely to have slept a wink thanks to the high vigilance and excess manoeuvres required to pass the squalls and calms of the doldrums.

Apart from the two race leaders, Bonduelle and PRB, the trajectories of all the competitors under the enormous cloud mass of the intertropical convergence zone reveal numerous gybes and counter moves throughout the night. One of the most astonishing has been the westerly options of Hugo Boss and Sill et Véolia, favouring the return of VMI onto the third rung in the rankings. Whether such moves are part of their race strategy or a result of the capricious doldrums is difficult to say.

The leader must now be achingly close to deliverance though and are clearly lining themselves up for the next obstacle, the Saint Helena high. In fact Bonduelle, PRB and VMI have been on a constant heading and speed since dawn, so they may well already be free. For their pursuers, lines of squalls and storms are the order of the day…
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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