A crucial day is in store for for Marc GUILLEMOT and Sam DAVIES as they battle for third place in the Vendée Globe.
With 313 miles to go at 04:00 UTC this morning, showing no immediate signs of slowing down, and with a lead of about 220 miles, this morning could be crucial for Sam DAVIES, (GBR) onboard Roxy as she strives to land third place in the Vendée Globe. She has been working hard to keep her Open 60 in the best breeze and, while her rival Marc GUILLEMOT (FRA) on Safran has struggled with the lighter breezes he has been dealt by the developing high pressure system, averaging seven knots to DAVIES' 13. DAVIES had spells reaching 12-14 knots during the night whilst Safran dropped to two knots at one stage.
Her strategy appears to be little different to what she alluded almost jokingly yesterday when she would head north until level with her house in South Brittany, above the latitude of Les Sables d'Olonne and this morning she was already between Lorient and Concarneau. She was still reaping the benefits of 10-12 knots NW'lies this morning, some 200 miles from the centre of this dominant anticyclone, which lies just to the NWW of Cape Finisterre, while at something like 80 miles from the middle GUILLEMOT on the keel-less Safran looks to have closer to 8 knots and is still trying to make north.
The weather models suggest DAVIES may even hang to the breeze until around midday.
Meantime Les Sables d'Olonne awakes this morning to sunshine and very light breeze.
"I have just been in the cockpit having another karaoke moment - making the most of one of my last nights out here on my own! Leaning on the coachroof looking backwards at Roxys wake, lit up by the moon and streaming out for as far as I could see. Singing out at the top of my voice! I wish I could stay out there all night, but I must rest, ready for a tough 24 hours of light wind sailing to get through the high "bubble" that is going to block our progress tomorrow night,"
said DAVIES yesterday evening.
Brian THOMPSON (GBR) is now around 280 miles behind GUILLEMOT and he and Dee CAFFARI (GBR) have been in fast reaching mode all night. CAFFARI is just passing the latitude of Cape Finisterre and has been slightly quicker than THOMPSON this morning, but Bahrain Team Pindar is 120 miles ahead. They look to be well matched for speed and will continue to work to the NW to try and stay away from the worst effects of the anticyclone for as long as possible, more or less following the track taken by GUILLEMOT and DAVIES for the moment. They will continue to gain on Safran, meaning that after a wait of more than five days for the second boat to finish, and what looks like nearly a week for the third, then we might see three boats finish in comparatively short order from Saturday.
Winds continue to be inconsistent and frustrating for Arnaud BOISSIÈRES (FRA) who is level with the Canary Islands now. He is making closer to nine knots early this morning, but his speeds through the night on Akena Véranda were erratic, while Steve WHITE (GBR) on Toe in the Water still looks to have about 200 miles of trade winds sailing left to continue to catch the French skipper. He is still 481 miles behind.
Rich WILSON (USA) has also been frustrated by the conditions he is being given some 150 miles off the Brasilian coast, almost Doldrums like at times with clouds which suck away the light trades he should have, and cause big wind shifts. "What is going on here?"
he asked rhetorically last night. He has been making between seven and nine knots.
Raphael DINELLI (FRA) onboard Fondation Océan Vital and Norbert SEDLACEK (AUT) on Nauticsport-Kapsch are in headwinds with the Austrian skipper making about two knots quicker.
Vendee Globe Leaderboard - 04:00 UTC 12 February 2009
1. Michel DESJOYEAUX (FRA), Foncia finished after 84 days, 3 hours, 9 minutes
2. Armel LE CLÉAC'H (FRA), Brit Air finished after 89 days, 9 hours 39 minutes
3. Sam DAVIES (GBR), Roxy at 313 miles to finish
4. Marc GUILLEMOT (FRA), Safran at 531 miles to finish
5. Brian THOMPSON (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar 818 miles to finish
6. Dee CAFFARI (GBR), Aviva at 941 miles to finish
7. Arnaud BOISSIÈRES (FRA), Akena Vérandas at 1904 miles to finish
8. Steve WHITE (GBR), Toe in the Water 2491 miles to finish
9. Rich WILSON (USA), Great American III at 4044 miles to finish
10. Raphaël DINELLI (FRA), Fondation Océan Vital at 5252 miles to finish
11. Norbert SEDLACEK (AUT), Nauticsport - Kapsch at 5606 miles to finish
RDG. Vincent RIOU (FRA), PRB, Awarded equal third as redress
30 boats started
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