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22 February 2005, 10:03 am
Bruce Into The Biscay Of Biscay
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Vendée Globe

Bruce SCHWAB (Ocean Planet) is 71 miles off La Coruna (Spain) this morning and 384 miles from Les Sables d'Olonne. He only has the crossing of the Bay of Biscay left to negotiate, in the knowlegde that the wind has a rather nasty tendency of rounding off to the East, right on the nose of the American.
Behind him, Benoît PARNAUDEAU (Max Havelaar/Best Western) is continuing to glide through a bolt hole bound for the Azores, 560 miles N of him, his pace slowed since last night.

The big question is whether the finish is going to be Wednesday or Thursday for Bruce Schwab. It's difficult to say...Ocean Planet is greedily swallowing up the miles at the moment but the final home straight may well prove tricky. On paper Bruce only has one good day and a half of sailing to go this morning, but he is likely to need more time to make Les Sables d'Olonne. In fact the American skipper will have to tackle a north-easterly wind currently blowing across France. The blue skies and the biting cold here leave us with no doubt that we are encountering polar air. Under the same influence Bruce will have to perform a series of northward tacks which will distance him temporarily from the course. For now though, there are no other solutions for the American skipper who is currently passing just off Cape Finisterre (Spain) a little way off the shipping lanes. Taking all this into account, an ETA of Thursday looks much more reasonable.

Benoît PARNAUDEAU (Max Havelaar/Best Western) is currently making good headway 560 miles South of the island of Santa Maria (Azores). Though the skipper from La Rochelle had made it into a bolt hole giving him some favourable southerly wind yesterday, it would seem that he has been temporarily calmed this morning. He was making just 5.8 knots of average boat speed over a half hour period earlier but is directly on course with the same 5.8 knots of VMG. To get an idea of Benoît's position in terms of latitude, he is 980 miles WSW of Agadir (Morocco).

Anne LIARDET (Roxy) is 465 miles behind Benoît. She has lost some miles on him overnight after coming back to within 428 miles of him. Anne is the 'least rapid' of the fleet having made 155 miles over a 24 hour period at an average speed of 6.5 knots. Roxy is right in the middle of a transition zone between the north-easterly trade winds and the Azores high, a situation not easy to get out of. She is currently abeam of Nouadhibou, 890 miles from the Mauritanian coast.

Raphaël DINELLI (Akena Vérandas) and Karen LEIBOVICI (Benefic) are being pushed by the the north-easterly trade winds. 15 knots of wind is giving them upwind to close reaching conditions. Their next target is the latitude of the Cape Verde islands. Raphaël is 678 miles from Fogo this morning and Karen 800 miles from the same volcanic island. Since passing the equator yesterday, Karen has made 180 miles to the North of this imaginary line.

Kate Jennings
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