"We just want to make sure that whatever PRB gets, we get it too," explained Damian FOXALL (IRL) on Paprec-Virbac 2 this afternoon. PRB's Vincent RIOU (FRA) had the same idea earlier in the day.
But Veolia Environnement appears to be determined to make it a three-boat party as Roland JOURDAIN's (FRA) boat has taken over 50 miles out of the leading PRB over the last 24 hours.
Further back Delta Dore and Hugo Boss have done even better, clawing back nearly 60 miles, although they remain over 200 miles behind. Those top five boats have now all crossed through the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha.
Next to reach that milestone will be Temenos II, which has spent the day trying to drag itself clear of Mutua Madrileña and has been rewarded with a margin of 20 miles.
Also, finally joining the bulk of the fleet in the south Atlantic trade winds is Estrella Damm. Skippers Guillermo ALTADILL (ESP) and Jonathan MCKEE (USA) have battled against a series of problems on board, with the result that they haven't been able to stay in touch with their competitors.
"This has been one of the hardest three days of my life," read the email today from MCKEE. "Granted we had been having a rather bad race, whether making some poor decisions or being unlucky or some combination of those two. But we were still in the race, something like 30-50 miles behind the group in front on Sunday morning. But somehow they kept a lot more consistent breeze than us since then...According to our weather data, we should have had decent breeze the whole time, and better than the boats further west. But obviously those predictions have been wrong and somehow our competitors have analyzed the situation better than we have. Each time we would get a good southwest wind we would say, ok here we go at last, only to have it disappear within an hour, and we return to the DOLDRUMS, Heinous place..."
Perhaps they can take heart from the latest position report, which sees Estrella Damm racing south at 14.7 knots - the third fastest boat in the fleet. Meanwhile, Educación sin Fronteras, at the back of the fleet, will be spending the night in the doldrums.
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