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21 November 2004, 06:36 pm
Two Weeks down the line
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Vendée Globe
Round The World

The group at the front is at a more favourable angle, while those coming up behind are still advancing with the wind on the beam . Straightforward racing is coming to an end.

In the next 24 hours we shall see the return of tactical and strategic options Vincent Riou has no hang-ups

They're sliding along again For the frontrunners, the trade wind has gradually backed from the south-east towards the east and now the north-east, which offers a more favourable sailing wind angle and allows the skippers to achieve some fine averages requiring a lot of work out on deck. Since crossaing the Equator, they have not had much physical work to do, but now the solo yachtsmen are back out on the foredeck preparing the sail changes, from the gennaker to the spinnaker and back again. It's hard to know exactly how long the six leaders will be able to keep up this rhythm. 12 hours? 24 hours? The mysteries of the St. Helena high are difficult for the sailors to unravel, in spite of the long hours spent bending over the charts in front of all the different weather models. Last night, the leader, Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle), had his first brush for a few hours with the instability they are about to face. The next few days look very interesting from a tactical point of view.

A question of luck

The skippers all agree. The game will once again be wide open, as they deal with crossing the St. Helena high, which some of them are quite pleased about. Their courses won't be changing by 90° however, but the positions as they start to enter a zone of light winds, may well shake up the rankings a little. It is the uncertainty and lack of agreement about the forthcoming weather that is worrying the yachtsmen a little more. In other words, there is the fear of getting stuck in a calm zone with no wind, while the others zoom off to the south. This question of luck and not being able to predict anything is weighing heavily on all their minds.

Vincent Riou has no hang-ups

The race could hardly have begun in better style for the Breton yachtsman, who was in the lead for almost a week, and is now firmly hanging on to second place. After two weeks of racing, Vincent Riou (PRB) has calmly taken a look at what has happened so far, before they reach the Deep South. 'In a week, we'll be down in the forties. Since the start, we've been very fast. If we've been at 8-9 knots, it's only been for 4 or 5 hours at the most. In the end, there hasn't been much difference with the newer boats. If Jean is in the lead, it's because he has been sailing well, and not because his boat is capable of faster speeds. That's rather encouraging for me. I think there's more to gain by getting the most out of your boat or by choosing the right course, rather than relying on the potential of the monohulls. I'm fairly clear in my own mind about how I shall manage in the Deep South. I'm going to have to be reasonable, not attack too much, and try to keep out of the worst weather. It's starting to get exciting and I can't wait to be there. The race is going to change once we are in the South. Down there, the role of the sailor is even more important'

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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