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10 March 2005, 04:33 pm
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Vendée Globe

The two remaining competitors have the added difficulty of avoiding shipping as they struggle onwards towards a weekend finish in Les Sables d´Olonne.

'I have a cargo ship that came up behind me at 0100 GMT this morning and since then it has been on the same course as me less than a mile to starboard. It is delaying my escape from the shipping lane, which is an additional stress. There has been quite a lot of shipping overnight, including a big Spanish fishing boat.'

Added to a torturous weather forecast Raphaël DINELLI (FRA) on Akena Verandas is being forced to keep up a virtually permanent look out for shipping, with numerous cargo ships currently adopting his course as he makes his way towards the finish. DINELLI is tacking upwind off the Vendée coast, right in line with the hectic Ouessant-Cape Finisterre highway.

Karen LEIBOVICI (FRA) on board Benefic is about to start the same traffic dodging, 250 miles southwest of DINELLI. The two sailors are pushing their physical and mental limits to the full, digging deep for the extra energy needed to make headway in the varying wind strengths. LEIBOVICI still has a strong wind while for DINELLI the opposite is true.

DINELLI continues to 'weave along' towards the finish as he describes his method of progress. One minute he is on a tack towards Spain the next towards the tip of Britain... the sea subsiding, the wind easing, but still very shifty both in strength and direction. DINELLI is having a constant struggle on deck to find the right sails and the right trim. Despite his exhaustion he is doing everything he can to make Les Sables d´Olonne this weekend - Saturday is still a possibility. An initial northeasterly wind shift this evening should be a great help to him, before he finishes off in a small northwesterly air flow generated by the long awaited collapse of the ridge of high pressure.

450 miles from the finish, LEIBOVICI is also praying that the depression that has lead her to the western tip of Spain today, hustles the sleeping high pressure over the Bay of Biscay and opens a way to the Vendée for her with a minimum of tacks. The fatigue, or rather the exhaustion, is getting the better of her. The list of technical problems continues to extend and she is becoming desperate to make easting and bring an end to her ordeal as quickly as possible. Deprived of power, LEIBOVICI is continuing to helm through the 35 to 40 knot wind and very steep seas, on the look out for shipping and, most of all, a possible conclusion to her round the world on Sunday.

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF) - Translation By Kate Jennings. Image, Benefic: © Karen Leibovici/Benefic/Vendée Globe
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