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14 January 2005, 10:07 am
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Vendée Globe

The situation on the water this morning is stationary at the head of the Vendée Globe, for the three protagonists on very similar headings on the climb up the Southern Atlantic along the Brazilian coast. Vincent RIOU (PRB) is holding off the British sailor Mike GOLDING (Ecover) by nearly thirty miles to the West of him, and maintaining a 150 mile lead over Jean LE CAM (Bonduelle).
Another laborious day is in store, upwind on port tack in difficult seas. Any gains along the route are hard fought and less than 200 miles have been covered by the leaders in the past 24 hours. They need to make ground in the North East, in the hunt for the famous South Easterly trades and the resulting speed from the wind on the beam to the equator.

The most rapid of the fleet are Dominique WAVRE (Temenos) and Sébastien JOSSE (VMI)! Having respectively covered 325 and 321 miles since yesterday morning, the two skippers are just 73 miles apart and 120 miles closer to the leaders. Sébastien confirmed it at yesterday's radio session: 'I'm in good shape!'. Today he has brought the damaged VMI to within 600 miles of his friend Riou. In some difficult conditions, he is racking up a maximum number of miles before the forecast drop in the pace this evening.

Jean Pierre DICK (Virbac Paprec) ended up going round to the West of the Falkland Islands last night in the probable hunt for a more favourable climate and sea along the Argentinian coast to try in finish off his reconstruction work on his damaged boom. Nick MOLONEY (Skandia) is continuing his descent towards the South American continent, sailing with cracked sheets just 210 miles from the latitudes of Cape Horn. The Australian skipper will make his entry into the Atlantic Ocean during the night. Joé SEETEN (Arcelor Dunkerque) is less than 700 miles from the famous cape, and his direct opponent, English skipper Conrad HUMPHREYS (Hellomoto) is down to within 1000 miles today. Deliverance is approaching for the two skippers, whose memory of the Pacific 2005 will likely be one of intense cold, thick fog and old icebergs. Karen LEIBOVICI (Benefic) is not completely alone in bringing up the rear of the fleet across the Pacific. The officially retired Marc Thiercelin (Pro Form) left New Zealand last night, bound for French shores after completing a long list of repairs.

Kate Jennings (As Amended by ISAF)
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