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18 November 2005, 09:24 am
Two Way Battle For IMOCA 60 Victory Between Virbac-Paprec And Sill
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Transat Jaques Vabre 2005

Race records are set to be broken all round in the Transat Jaques Vabre thanks to the unusually fast passage through the Doldrums and well established southeast Trades. Jean-Pierre DICK (FRA) and Loick PEYRON (FRA) on Virbac-Paprec cannot shake off Roland JOURDAIN (FRA) and Ellen MACARTHUR (GBR) on Sill et Veolia who are now just 14 miles in their wake with less than 200 miles to go to the finish at Bahia, Brazil.
Time is running out for the Anglo-French pairing in second place to trump the leader, but as DICK remembers from 2003, 'We got caught under a storm cloud and lost 20 miles in just one hour to the next two boats, but we had a bigger lead last time round!' Indeed, the weather is notoriously light and variable on the very last few miles into All Saints Bay, and JOURDAIN and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year MACARTHUR in this respect have the psychological upper hand as they pile on the pressure for the leaders to make the slightest error in navigation. It promises to be a dramatic duel to the bitter end over tomorrow night!

The other close combat in the top pack is being fought between the boys in blue Brian THOMPSON (GBR) and Will OXLEY (AUS) on Skandia, just ten miles ahead of the black stealth boat Pro-Form with Marc THIERCELIN (FRA) and Eric DROUGLAZET (FRA) onboard, as they pass Fernando de Noronha and go all out to keep the boat speed at its best and the French team at bay behind them.

Open 50 Class 2 Monohull Update

In the Open 50 monohull class, despite their 241 mile lead, Joe HARRIS (USA) and Josh HALL (GBR) on Gryphon Solo will be watching their backs as Kip STONE (USA) and Merfyn OWEN (GBR) on Artforms gain another place in the rankings in an artful move into second place. Paul METCALF (GBR) and Ryan FINN (GBR) on Polarity Solo have followed suit and moved up one place to fourth as both attacking Anglo-American pairings reap the rewards of their westerly route towards the Doldrums.

Multihull Update: ORMA 60 CLASS

The first multihull Pascal BIDÉGORRY (FRA) and Lionel LEMONCHOIS (FRA) on Banque Populaire rounded the British Ascension Island at approximately 1700 hours last night and is now clocking boatspeeds of over 20 knots sailing downwind for the last 1,400m to the finish. Gitana 11's more easterly route has paid off after three hard days bashing upwind, and Fred LE PEUTREC (FRA) and Yann GUICHARD (FRA) are now just 14 miles ahead of Michel DESJOYEAUX (FRA) and Hugues DESTREMAU (FRA) on Géant, however these two Open 60 multihulls are sailing at half the leader's speed, yet to round their windward marker, and until they do, Banque Populaire will continue to stretch out their lead.

Class 2 Open 50 Multihull Fleet

The French father and son ESCOFFIERS, Frank-Yves and Kevin on their Open 50 multihull, Crêpes Whaou !, will definitely be the first boat in the whole fleet to arrive in Salvador tomorrow evening after overtaking Virbac-Paprec today sailing at 20+ knots downwind in the strong southeast Trades.

For all the news on the Transat Jacques Vabre CLICK HERE.

Mary Ambler (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Crêpes Whaou !, looks certain to be the first boat into Salvador:© Yann Zedda
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