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23 November 2004, 11:38 am
Le Cam Feeling The Squeeze
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Vendée Globe

Jean Le CAM (Bonduelle) must surely be feeling the squeeze as the 1000 GMT ranking falls, with the his closest pursuers all making up around 15 miles on the leader who looks to have hit a zone of light winds, racking up an average of just 4.9 miles over the past four hours.
As a result Vincent RIOU (PRB) is really piling on the pressure, just 15 miles behind. With the top four French sailors hot-footing it down south and 'rudely' slamming the door shut behind them, perhaps Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) has decided that he has nothing to lose 320.2 miles from the leader in what is considered by most as a rather « risqué » westerly option. Ahead of him, Mike GOLDING (Ecover) in fourth is sticking to a safe course behind the leaders and has made up around 20 miles on them, 191.9 miles back, while Thomson has lost about the same amout.

Over 500 miles off the pace, it's all change once again for the quintet of Hervé LAURENT (UUDS), Joé SEETEN (Arcelor Dunkerque) out west, and Marc THIERCELIN (Pro-Form), Nick MOLONEY (Skandia) and Conrad HUMPHREYS (Hellomoto) out east. For now the west is paying off the latter three within 0.1 or 0.2 of a mile of each other, all five on a parallel course.

The most radical choice of the day clearly has to go to English sailor, Alex THOMSON, who has opted to hang a wide westerly option. Such a choice will send him closer to the high pressure zone located to his south-west which will generate a little wind. At the end of this he will have to sail close-hauled into light headwind to move south (the anticyclones turn anticlockwise in the southern hemisphere). Ultimately his goal must be to remain the furthest west so as to be one of the first, or indeed the first, to benefit from the effects of the depressions sweeping the south. If Thomson manages to pull it off, it may well be a chance to get back in contact with the leaders who, seemingly, may well go off on a flyer in the coming 48 hours.

Other preoccupations for Jean Pierre DICK (Virbac Paprec) behind Alex in seventh, who has lost his pulpit as a lashing gave way on the bow sprit yesterday afternoon, and Norbert SEDLACEK (Brother) who is on the final approaches to the equator.

Event Media (Translated By Kate Jennings)
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