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1 February 2005, 10:57 am
A Clear Lead?
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Vendée Globe

As Vincent RIOU breaks through the 400 miles to home barrier aboard PRB his lead has grown another 3.5 miles over Jean LE CAM, while Mike GOLDING'S deficit on the leader is now 77.1 miles meaning he has lost a further 3.6 miles on the leader.
His deficit on Bonduelle remains virtually the same over the last six hours. PRB's course to the finish is still the most favourable, with a VMG advantage over this schedule of 0.9 knots. For the moment the two leaders are running very much parallel courses. Any suggestion that the strain of such close racing will somehow be relieved by a spell of more settled winds look to be unfounded.

For all three of this leading vanguard, still racing in SE'ly winds around 12-15 knots, the breeze will remain very shifty and unsettled through the day, with changes of between 20 and 30 degrees at times. This might increase the advantage of PRB who is right on the compass course for Les Sables d'Olonne.

For Mike GOLDING on Ecover in the south he looks set to have to swallow a bitter pill so late in the race. He had very little choice yesterday other than to tack and shadow the course of the two leaders, but it does not look good at the moment as he heads into the southern corner of the Bay of Biscay in the direction on Bayona. Forecasters suggest he will get less wind the further south and east he goes, for the moment and the wind will head him off for more, but his hopes must be that the prognosis will improve as the clock ticks down. Over the last six hours he has actually managed to keep on a slightly higher compass course than both of his opponents with very similar speeds and has reduced the lateral separation by a couple of miles.

For VMI and Temenos it is likely that the movement of the high pressure system slowly into the south east will mean that it will be a long way for them to follow this same more northerly entry that the leaders have, and that their quickest route will be to squeeze to the south of the anticyclone, coming on to the wind to beat in by Cape Finisterre, the winds moving back into the North.

Conrad HUMPHREYS on Hellomoto looks set for ESE winds with a few squalls on the horizon. Joé SEETEN on Arcelor Dunkerque is like to find himself in favourable South-Easterlies which will gradually strengthen throughout the day. The doldrums are currently further south than usual and seem to be situated approximately on the equator.

Bruce SCHWAB on Ocean Planet is on the edge of a stormy depression in ENE winds, the trade winds looking to be quite strong.Benoît PARNAUDEAU (Max Havelaar Best Western) is in a more complicated environment with the passage of a stormy depression with squalls, headwinds and gusts of 35 knots. This is likely to prove fairly penalising for his VMG today. His goal will be to try to pass to the East of the slow moving system fuelled by storms created on land.

Anne LIARDET on Roxy is likely to bear the brunt of the same system with stronger winds gusting to 45 knots. The advantage of her position is that she will end up on the right side of the system racing downwind.

Raphael DINELLI on Akena Verandas is still working his way around an anticyclone with a fairly uncomplicated day's sailing enabling him to close on Roxy slightly, though he will have to negotiate a ridge of high pressure at some point.

Karen LEIBOVICI (Benefic) is currently sailing in strong SW winds, with a fairly considerable separation between her and Raphael. She may well make up some ground on the tail of fleet today.

Event Media (As Amended by ISAF)
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