Best Etmal in the field: Roland Jourdain with "Sill et Véolia"
On the fifth day of the 24,000 nautical miles long Vendée Globe, the French Vincent Riou with his "PRB" leads ahead of Roland Jourdain with "Sill et Véolia". The Austrian Norbert Sedlacek could not improve from 20th and last place.
It took the Frenchman Yves Parlier six days and an hour to get to the Canary Islands for the last edition of the one-handed non-stop regatt in 2000/2001. This previous best time for Vendée sailors will probably be pulverized in the course of the coming night. Vincent Riou is so fast with his "PRB" that he will probably sail the route a whole day faster.
Behind Riou is fellow countryman Roland Jourdain (third in the Vendée 2000/2001, behind Michel Desjoyeaux and Ellen MacArthur), who with his "Sill et Véolia" is again the best Etmal of the fleet in the last 24 hours with 385 nautical miles left in the wake.
The 18 men and 2 women in the field have been sailing with a strong wind since Cape Finisterre. It is not uncommon for the anemometers to show 35 and 40 knots. In addition, there are wave heights of four to six meters. If it weren't quite warm, some of the skippers would think they were already sailing in the Southern Ocean.
Far back: Norbert Sedlacek with "Brother"
While the boats in the front of the field are being pushed to their limit, the only German-speaking sailor in the field, Norbert Sedlacek from Vienna, seems to be playing it safe. At the last position report this Thursday morning, he sailed at a speed of almost 9 knots, while the leading French shot away at around 17 knots. Even Karen Leibovici, the French woman with whom Sedlacek had a small private duel in the past few days, sailed at more than 12 knots. So it's no wonder that the Austrian is now a good 70 nautical miles away from her. There are even 442 nautical miles to the top of the fleet.
If Sedlacek wants to fulfill his dream of 10th place, he now has to slowly step on the accelerator. Or maybe he trusts statistics. In the last four Vendée Globe regattas, only 35 of the 68 participants crossed the finish line. A quota that could bring the Austrian close to his target. Provided that he is not one of those who have to give up the race himself.
Comeback 2008? Michel Desjoyeaux
While the current participants are rushing against the Canary Islands, the winner of 2000/2001, the Frenchman Michel Desjoyeaux, has announced that he may be back at the 2008 edition. "I didn't want to take part this year because I've built a new trimaran and I want to sail it extensively for the time being. But I never said I wouldn't be coming back to the Vendée."
Desjoyeaux also commented on the chances of Vincent Rious, whose "PRB" is his winning ship from 2000/2001. According to Desjoyeaux, he believes that any boat built or refurbished between 1996 and 2000 has a good chance of winning. In addition, Riou for his part improved the ship again and closed two thirds of the potential gap in the speed potential compared with the newbuildings.
The ranking on Thursday morning at 4 a.m.:
1. PRB, Vincent Riou 2. Sill et Véolia, Roland Jourdain, 21.9 nautical miles to the leader 3. Ecover, Mike Golding, 45.6 SzF 4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 56.6 SzF5. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 66.0 SzF6. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson, 69.1 SzF7. Temenos, Dominique Wavre, 69.4 SzF8. Hellomoto, Conrad Humphreys, 119.4 SzF9. VM Matériaux, Patrice Carpentier, 127.9 SzF10. Skandia, Nick Moloney, 134.1 SzF11. Virbac-Paprec, Jean-Pierre Dick, 145.2 SzF12. Pro-Form, Marc Thiercelin, 159.3 SzF13, Arcelor Dunkerque, Joé Seeten, 164.7 SzF14. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 182.0 SzF15. UUDS, Hervé Laurent, 209.2 SzF16, Roxy, Anne Liardet, 334.2 SzF17. AkenVérandas, Raphaël Dinelli, 348.9 SzF18. Max Havelaar Best Western, Benoît Parnaudeau, 366.9 SzF19. Benefic, Karen Leibovici, 369.7 SzF20. Brother, Norbert Sedlacek, 442.5 SzF