Dominique WAVRE (Temenos) is abandoning his travelling companion. For almost three weeks, Wavre and Sébastien JOSSE (VMI) stuck by each other, even sailing within sight of each other for a whole afternoon in the Southern Hemisphere. Rarely did the gap between them exceed thirty miles. But this morning the Swiss skipper led by 74 miles.
Dominique does not intend to wait for his playmate to sail home together into Les Sables. Averaging 12 knots over the past 24 hours, the skipper of Temenos only had 364 miles left to cover at 04:00 this morning, or around thirty hours sailing. However, the north north easterly wind they have been experiencing out to sea is easing off in the Bay of Biscay. The two sailors are going to have to deal with a wind swinging around to the south east tonight. Temenos is expected to finish on Monday evening and VMI on Tuesday morning.
Taking the long way home is Jean-Pierre DICK (Virbac-Paprec) who isn't worrying about the extra mileage. By rounding the Azores archipelago on the western side, Jean-Pierre is moving almost 900 miles off the direct route. However, the skipper from Nice, who has certainly had his share of problems in this Vendée Globe, doesn't want to tack into the trade wind with a damaged boom. That's why he prefers to go around the ridge of high pressure stretching out to the Spanish islands. In this way, he will keep downwind for several days. In any case, Jean-Pierre doesn't have a lot to win or lose in the rankings. 1400 miles behind fifth place and 820 miles ahead of the seventh placed, the skipper of Virbac-Paprec is more interested in speed, comfort and looking after his boat.
Back in the north - It was at 23:30 (GMT) last night that the American Bruce SCHAWAB (Ocean Planet) crossed the Equator in ninth place. The Californian is hoping now that the Doldrums, which have been fairly weak recently, will not slow him down too much enabling him to pick up the north easterly trades quickly. There are still four competitors in the Southern Hemisphere. At the rear, Karen LEIBOVICI (Benefic) is still 2400 miles from the Equator that she is expected to cross in around 12 days or so