Sébastien JOSSE (VMI) rounded Cape Horn last night at 2324 GMT. Jean LE CAM (Bonduelle) is heading the fleet with a 46 mile lead over Vincent RIOU (PRB). Mike GOLDING (Ecover), third is 92 miles from the leader. The top trio was 850 miles to the South-East of Montevideo (Uruguay) at 0400 GMT and 2980 miles from the equator. Conrad HUMPHREYS (Hellomoto) has finally slipped past Bruce SCHWAB (Ocean Planet) overnight into ninth.
At 2324 GMT last night, Sébastien JOSSE aboard VMI crossed the longitude of Cape Horn. Sébastien was able to make the best of the depression pushing him for the past days right up to the entry into the Atlantic. He took 60 days 11 hours and 22 minutes to make this final cape, 3 days 18 hours and 9 minutes behind Jean LE CAM (Bonduelle) in this Vendée Globe 2004.
At 0400 GMT this morning he was 87 miles to the South West of the Lighthouse at the End of the World, on the Isla de Los Estados. The second piece of news from last night is that Conrad HUMPHREYS (Hellomoto) has snatched ninth place at the expense of Bruce SCHWAB (Ocean Planet). The English skipper had slipped past ... just one little mile ahead of the American at the 0400 GMT ranking. After an epic day up his mast yesterday, this must surely be encouraging news for Humphreys who was right at the back of the fleet when he left South Africa (repairing his broken rudder himself).
At the front of the fleet there are no radical moves being made. Jean LE CAM (Bonduelle) has taken back 10 miles on Vincent RIOU (PRB) since 1900 hours yesterday. Jean has a 46 mile lead and a more northerly option while Vincent has got in a little easting. Each of the top trio are making their own course but none of them are daring to go too far astray of the direct course for the moment. The ultimate goal is to position themselves well in relation to the zone of erratic winds expected in 24 hours' time. This navigation zone situated between Brazil and the southern tip of the American continent is proving to be a real meteorological « no man's land » swept with anticyclones and the birthplace of depressions at the base of the coast of Uruguay.
Jean talks of a daily averages of three hours at the chart table, clearly a minimum for the top trio, the situation seeming particularly confusing. Currently, the aim of the game is not to lose ground in relation to the others... Bonduelle is winning this particular game this morning, the fastest boat of the fleet having covered 334.2 miles over the past 24 hours at an average speed of 13.9 knots.
The fastest over the past half hour though is unquestionably Australian Nick MOLONEY (Skandia). Nick was racking up an average speed of 17.2 knots before the gales hit in a few hours' time from the South-West. This powerful depression will be felt initially by Joé SEETEN (Arcelor Dunkerque), whose wake since yesterday morning clearly shows that he is taking a great deal of care to avoid the worst of the system. Nick is unfortunately likely to be the worst affected once again with winds forecast in excess of 50 knots with waves of over 7 metres