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17 October 2001, 11:34 am
Le Blevec Retakes Lead From Thompson
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©Jacques Vapillon

Mini Transat

As you sit reading this, possibly with a coffee in hand, the skippers in the Mini Transat will begin turning between the Cape Verde islands of Santo Antaô and Sâo Vincente and will really face the wide blue yonder in their tiny 6.5 metre racing skiff.
Much has been made of the doldrums and the calms that can befall a sailor not fully prepared - for some this will hold no mystery as many are professional sailors that will have passed this way before, for the majority however this is truly a voyage into the unknown. No amount of reading matter can prepare you for the reality of days with no wind, blistering heat and a home so small as to send an expansive mind crazy.

The waypoint in the Cape Verdes will be the last true indication of who is where in the rankings as the fleet will soon spread across the ocean playing their own hunches and following any slight zephyr in the hope it will lead to the next. The leader board may well change but it will only be once the fleet close down to Brazil and their corridor of uncertainty narrows, that once again the polling of the fleet will be for anything other than the amusement of followers - albeit with some satellite weather images and pressure charts to give those at home a chance of guessing who is in the right place.

For Pedro de la Cruz, a Cape Verdian, passing his homeland will give him the opportunity to stop and call upon his friends to assist him with the repairs of his boat. Antoine Cornic, too, will stop to replace his broken forestay. And Gael Bigot currently 7th in this leg, is likely to make a stop to sort problems with his water ballast, and maybe a boat full of involuntarily re-hydrating food, an unlucky time for Gael who broken his boom and had to stop in leg one. Eric de Froidmont also has a broken boom but it is not clear if he will stop.

Finally Eric Vassard joins the list of retirees following blow to the head - prudence has forced him out, he is sailing with Armel Tripon back to the Canaries.

Boat Positions:

1; 151; The Blevec Yves; ACTUAL INTERIM; CL; 2091.7; N182771; W0241076
2; 247; Thompson Brian; LIGHTHOUSE LIFE FOUNDATION; CL; 2098.5; N181376; W0233936
3; 304; Bestaven Yannick; AQUARELLE.COM; CL; 2105.6; N182651; W0234293
4; 348; Guerin Ronan; The CRAFT INDUSTRY 1st COMPANY OF FRANCE; CL; 2114.1; N181905; W0232226
5; 240; Curwen Simon; QDS; CL; 2122.7; N181468; W0230721
6; 303; Boissieres Arnaud; AQUARELLE.COM; CL; 2128.2; N183858; W0232128
7; 347; Douguet Corentin; SO THAT THE OCEAN REMAINS BLUE; CL; 2129.7; N183516; W0231553
8; 139; Gregoire Jeanne; WATERCOLOUR COM; CL; 2140.7; N184165; W0230591
9; 276; Davies Samantha; ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT; CL; 2157.6; N191154; W0231439
10; 231; Lucas Fran"ßois; SAILORS WITHOUT BORDERS; CL; 2158.2; N191755; W0232211
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