The hard way: Le Cam with "Bonduelle"
The two leading of the 24,000 nautical miles one-handed regattas Jean Le Cam ("Bonduelle") and Vincent Riou ("PRB") have passed the southern tip (Cape Agulhas) of the African continent. The two French have swapped positions with each other.
After a few days in which Vincent Riou led the fleet with his "PRB", Michel Desjoyeaux's victorious ship of the Vendée 2000/2001, his compatriot Le Cam has now taken over the top position again. The reason is the different tactics of the two front runners. While Le Cam has opted for the more southerly route, on which he ventures into the strong winds of a low-pressure area, Riou has chosen a currently more comfortable route in the north. The swell is currently less rough on his route than on Le Cam's path.
Ultimately, Riou is already positioning himself far north in view of a coming low with northerly winds, in order to be able to sail towards Australia at full throttle, while Le Cam then faces a rodeo ride in the middle of the low pressure with reefed sails. The organizers are already wondering whether it is wise to strain the ship so much. Note: You can only win a race if you finish. The following days will show whether the more cautious variant Rious or the combative Le Cams will bring success.
While the two leaders struggle with tactical finesse, the three pursuers Roland Jourdain ("Sill et Véolia"), Sébastien Josse ("VMI") and Mike Golding ("Ecover") have the first lows in the Southern Ocean to rush eastwards well done. Above all, Mike Golding covered an Etmal of 390 nautical miles, despite the high seas, which brought him up to almost 50 miles to Josse.
The Briton made a virtue out of necessity. He had no choice but to push his "Ecover" to the last, who fought doggedly to be able to ride on the express train for as long as possible - the low that moves east faster than the ships sail. What happens if you can't buy this ticket long enough, Alex Thomson found out yesterday. The weather system rushed past him and a light wind area lurked behind him. This gave him a current deficit of over 500 nautical miles on his compatriot Golding
The only German-speaking skipper in the field, the Austrian Norbert Sedlacek, has set a new record. However, its 272 nautical miles are far from the top Etmalen of top sailors. The Viennese seem to feel at home at the end of the field anyway: "Being last is not so stressful - you don't have to worry about being overtaken," he said in his report to the race management yesterday. (Editor's note: Sedlacek shouldn't be alarmed if Ellen MacArthur rushes past with her Tri "B&Q" at some point in the Southern Ocean or on the way back in the South Atlantic!)
Wears his nose up: Marc Thiercelin's "Pro-Form"
The Frenchman Marc Thiercelin was unlucky yesterday. The entire bowsprit broke away in his 13th position. His description: "I sailed at 17 knots, even 23 knots at peak, and was completely in my element. When it got dark I took the spinnaker down and selected the gennaker. But suddenly 'Pro-Form' crashed into a wave and sank up to the mast. If I had still had the spinnaker up, I would have probably lost the mast. Now the bowsprit is gone and I can only drive the smaller headsails. " This is obviously a disappointing situation for the French. He's no longer really competitive. On the other hand, he doesn't think about giving up. Fighter heart
Ranking on Thursday at 5 a.m.:
1. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 16,841.9 nautical miles to your destination 2. PRB, Vincent Riou, 63.8 nautical miles to leader3. Sill et Véolia, Roland Jourdain, 270.3 SzF4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 365.0 SzF5. Ecover, Mike Golding, 410.8 SzF6. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson, 937.8 SzF7. Virbac-Paprec, Jean-Pierre Dick, 1,226.2 SzF8. Temenos, Dominique Wavre, 1,314.2 SzF9. Hellomoto, Conrad Humphreys, 1,376.9 SzF10. Skandia, Nick Moloney, 1,388.2 SzF11. UUDS, Hervé Laurent, 1,413.5 SzF12. Arcelor Dunkerque, Joé Seeten, 1,414.1 SzF13. Pro-Form, Marc Thiercelin, 1,438.6 SzF14. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 1,441.4 SzF15. VM Matériaux, Patrice Carpentier, 1,451.6 SzF16. AkenVérandas, Raphaël Dinelli, 1,603.4 SzF17. Roxy, Anne Liardet, 1,678.3 SzF18. Max Havelaar / Best Western, Benoît Parnaudeau, 1,749.1 SzF19. Benefic, Karen Leibovici, 1,779.1 SzF20th brother, Norbert Sedlacek, 2,151.2 SzF