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15 February 2001, 11:24 am
Jourdain Expected Next
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Roland Jourdain (Sill Matines La Potagere) is now the third skipper expected into Les Sables d'Olonne. Positioned at 1100hrs, 249 miles from the finish and sailing at 12.9 knots gybing in with the following winds.
He will soon reach lighter winds, he declared this morning: "I'm doing my best to arrive before the low tide at 1100hrs, but it may be at the end of the afternoon, with the tide at 1730hrs. I'm a little tired, my radar's broken down so I didn't really sleep last night as I've been sailing through the cargo lane. I'm helming a lot, staying on deck savouring these final hours. Sill would like to go faster, always, but I say 'No, I'm giving you the staysail and main sail and you just have to fly along with them.'"

Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear) has gone West in his final push to negotiate the Azores anticyclone. It began paying as he picked up speed right away, but is now plagued with unfavourable winds, and a string of unpredictable squalls. "I had nearly 50 knots. As I can't furl my genoa, I had to get it in the shute rapidly which got my adrenaline pumping. Two pretty hard days."

For Catherine Chabaud (Whirlpool), the laborious upwind navigation is taking it's toll on her physically. Repeated shocks to the boat reverberate through her body, which has caused her lumbago. "Yesterday was one of the hardest days in this whole race: a chaotic sea, a NW swell and an opposing one from the NE, loads of rain squalls and manoeuvres on deck. It was unbearable. I have real back pains now and my body feels tired to the bone.. I slept so much in my bunk last night to get over it."

Patrice Carpentier (VM Materiaux) climbs steadily up the Atlantic. This morning he was proud to tell of how he managed to climb the mast to repair the main sail halyard, which was showing signs of wear and tear. He also confessed: "Oh, I've decided to stop smoking - well, actually, I've run out of cigarettes!"

Yves Parlier (Aquitaine Innovations), in a good wind, is maintaining some good average speeds at the cost of not being able to fish sailing at such a rate of knots. He has received an abundance of advice on how to fish. One of the great favourites of the Vendée Globe at the start, Yves paid brilliant homage to Ellen MacArthur for the performance which she has achieved. "Ellen has raced exceptionally well. Give her a hug from me! Her strong point is her sheer motivation. She lives for nothing else except sailing, day or night, 365 days a year. She doesn't ever hang back when she's out there racing. She was made for single-handed sailing."

The following skippers are expected to arrive
Roland Jourdain - Tuesday
Marc Thiercelin - Friday
Dominique Wavre - Saturday
Thomas Coville - Sunday


Ranking polled at 06.00 UTC 12/2/01

Boat Speed DTF DTL
1 PRB (Desjoyeaux) 0 0 0
2 Kingfisher (MacArthur) 0 0 0
3 SILL Matines La Potagère (Jourdain) 12.8 297 0
4 Active Wear (Thiercelin) 7.4 1069 772
5 Union Bancaire Privee (Wavre) 9.18 1469 1172
Philippe Jeantot
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