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Vendée Globe, Back on the Track

01/02/2013
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Offshore, along the coast of Brasil, to the west of Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, between Madeira and the Azores the skippers sail in the winds, along the edge of high pressure. There is another is low north of Spain. "That's the Vendée Globe," said Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM).

It is an anthology of fickle conditions for the nine competitors still racing. Their arrival dates in Les Sables d'Olonne range between the 4th and 18th February.

It is terrible weather in Les Sables d'Olonne. The storm that was forecast and causing Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) to decide to seek shelter on a buoy in Galicia, Spain has arrived. There is rain and strong gusts. This winter wind does not prevent onlookers wandering around the race village, in Port Olona, to visit the first three boats of the Vendée Globe. Now, they await a fourth; a blue boat without a keel.

Since his arrival yesterday (Thursday) at 5:30 at the port of San Ciprián, the skipper of Virbac-Paprec 3 has not been tapping his feet. He has swung the boat 180 degrees around on it's mooring, dived beneath to check the damage and also to affix his line so the boat is more secure. "It's impressive," he told us this morning, talking about the damage beneath. He's food supplies are low. Today, he enjoyed some pureed vegetable. Yesterday, bloggers, journalists and Spanish TV show all come to stare at the boat. Jean Pick has made a sign saying 'do not touch the boat'. He sits in a situation that is part prison, part zoo. But having rested and undertaken his boat husbandry, and completed some jobs on the jobslist he is ready to leave at daybreak on Sunday. The wind around the Spanish coast is not very co-operative, with light airs at first before there is a westerly flow, which will fill his sails and project him back to Les Sables d'Olonne.

In the grip of the high

Between Madeira and the Azores, it's always the same story between Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) and Mike Golding (Gamesa). Their duel began in mid-November, almost the same place, at the descent of the North Atlantic. For the umpteenth time, it has once again renewed intensity. As they circumnavigate the high pressure, Gamesa is just 4 miles SynerCiel. Shifted to the east, Golding was faster than his French counterpart in the past 12 hours. The situation is not clear and there could be an opportunity for Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) to return, despite his low speeds of 3 knots on the last two rankings.

Theoretically, it will be he who touches the wind first will accelerate. Over the next 48 hours, according to the less extreme routings, the duo could go back to the tip of Brittany to pass the high. The two men are expected to Les Sables d'Olonne February 6.

Consistent trade winds

Prior to wrestling the same high as the two ahead, Dominique Wavre(Mirabaud), Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) and Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered) still enjoying fresh winds. On this, the first day in February, they are by far the fastest in the remaining fleet. Focussed, they are trying to outrun the man who made a fantastic comeback in the South Atlantic, Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM). He is trapped on the edge of a high and none of the routing is offering him a perfect escape.

In brief:

ETA February 1

- Jean Le Cam Wednesday, February 6th

- Mike Golding between 5 and 7 hours later

- Bernard Stamm (excluding travel) February 7th

- Dominique Wavre and Arnaud Boissières Friday, February 8th

- Javier Sanso 8th or 9th February

- Bertrand de Broc on 11th or 12th February

- Tanguy De Lamotte on 14th or 15th February

- Alessandro Di Benedetto between 16th and 18th February

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 13:10