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24 February 2005, 04:52 pm
The End Is In Sight For Bruce...
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Vendée Globe
Les Sables d'Olonne, France

Originally expected into Les Sables d'Olonne this afternoon, American skipper Bruce SCHWAB on Ocean Planet has been drastically slowed by headwinds and rain squalls overnight, still awaiting the wind to veer round to the North to take him on a direct course to the finish.
He is currently averaging just 5.1 knots and only 65.3 miles from end of this 23,680-mile course that makes up the Vendée Globe and a massive group of international supporters are already here waiting to give him a rapturous welcome after this final epic upwind slog that will make his finish tomorrow morning even more sweet...

Still plagued by fairly light, shifty winds Bruce SCHWAB's mother was at today's radio session to try and lure the American skipper home with home-made salsa, jalapenos, tortillas, chocolate and grape juice. She has brought him a clean set of ironed clothes all the way from Seattle, America and will row out and get her son if need be...

'I've been dodging rain squalls and it's pretty slow going but I have made the most of the situation to film a whole group of dolphins. I haven't slept much as last night was just such a mess. My ETA continues to change every five minutes. Right now it looks like I'll arrive tomorrow morning, then I get a puff of wind and it's tonight and then I'm becalmed and it looks like an ETA next week! One thing's for sure though...I'll be there by morning even if I have to use my guitar as a paddle!'

Having covered just 115.9 miles over the past 24 hours, looping this seemingly eternal loop of the world must seem to Bruce that it is never coming, the northeasterly wind refusing to veer round to the north to set him on a direct course. At a steady 5 knots of boat speed, all forecasts would suggest that Bruce will nonetheless complete his ordeal tomorrow morning in under 110 days. In so doing he will become the first American skipper to officially complete the Vendée Globe.

A little over 1000 miles behind, Benoît PARNAUDEAU (Max Havelaar/Best Western), in tenth position, is currently negotiating a transition zone at the rear of a depression. The situation is a complicated one where the winds change regularly. 400 miles back, Anne LIARDET (Roxy), has made up a little ground on Benoît overnight and is making the most of a strong northwesterly wind to drive towards Cape Finisterre. Conditions are hard and she has to regularly keep an eye on the condition of her boat, though her performance far outweighs the rest of the fleet today as she has made 266.8 miles over the past 24 hours.

Raphaël DINELLI (Akena Vérandas), twelfth and around 2,300 miles from Les Sables d'Olonne, has suffered some violent squalls overnight before entering into the heart of the anticyclone where the light winds reign. He is currently racking up an average of just over 6 knots. Karen LEOBPVOCO (Benefic), 13 and 2,650 miles from the finish is still trucking up the North Atlantic in a NE'ly trade wind with difficult seas.

Event Media (As Amended by ISAF)
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