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16 January 2005, 07:53 pm
A Game Of Poker
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Vendée Globe

Truth or mind games? Trying to convince themselves or the opponents? Clearly, Vincent RIOU (PRB) and Jean LE CAM (Bonduelle) have become masters at the art of trickery. The two leaders have just stepped up the psychological warfare.
On Sunday's radio session, both appeared to show they were convinced that their diametrically opposed arguments were right. Concerning the pressure they feel, Vincent insisted that the closer they got to the finish, the more the pressure was on the one in second place. Jean's answer, 'The pressure is on PRB. I'm 200 miles behind. What could happen to me? On the other hand, I'd be a bit worried if I was in Vincent's position!' Then, there was the question about the Doldrums. For Vincent, they don't have much influence at this time of year. So, for Jean it was 'a complete mess' of course. As the two competitors know exactly what the other has said from their shore team, who updates them regularly, the two single-handed yachtsmen use their daily radio link-ups with race headquarters to send each other messages and try to destabilise the other. In this psychological warfare, it is important to convince everyone that everything is fine on board even when there is a problem. It can, moreover, be added that only the two frontrunners have no problems with their boats, apart from a few minor details... Maybe that's why they're in the lead, they would argue.

Ecover's broken mainsail halyard has cost the British yachtsman dearly. Not only did Mike drop back 200 miles from Vincent Riou, but he exhausted himself, climbing the mast three times in difficult conditions to carry out the repairs as quickly as possible. The result: lots of bruises, physical exhaustion, and he feels downhearted. Today, Mike GOLDING thought 'it would take a miracle to get back up there' with the leaders.

To the north of the Falklands, off the coast of Argentina, Jean-Pierre DICK (Virbac-Paprec) managed to repair his boom, which had split in two. Jean-Pierre still has a lot of work to do however, to get his gooseneck refitted, so he can use his mainsail once again. As if all that wasn't enough, Jean-Pierre found a whole lot of giant seaweed wrapped around his keel. Still smiling and upbeat, Jean-Pierre put on his diving suit to dive into 10°C water to get rid of these nasty invaders!

The race between Dominique WAVRE (Temenos) and Sébastien JOSSE (VMI) is still on. In this remarkable race covering the whole ocean, the Swiss skipper won a slight lead, only 2 miles ahead of the youngest competitor in the race, whose boat is no longer capable of showing her full potential.

Vendée Globe Media. Image: © Benoît Stichelbaut / DPPI / Vendée Globe
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