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18 December 2000

Rhythm of the Race High speeds induced by a low pressure system.  

Standings table 

Top 3

1.  PRB  48:1 South 97:3 East
2.  Sill 48:5 South 94:3 East + 81 miles 
3.  Aquitaine Innovations 48:4 South 87:5 East +133 miles

Fleet round up section

A fast day of close sailing for the top 2 boats.  PRB still leads, today by 81 miles.  This figure means that Sill lost 16 miles in 24 hours.  Last report showed them sailing at the fastest speeds in the fleet.

3rd place Aquitaine Innovations has lost 169 miles in the last 24 hours.  Last report showed a speed of only 5 knots.  With 20 knots of wind and a favorable course, the boat seemingly should be faster.  

Farther back the duel between Voila Fr. and VM Matériaux sails on.  Voila is 4 miles ahead today.  The two boats have the wind on the beam moving along around 6 knots.


Skipper Communications

Bernard Gallay Voila Fr. "Today things are going much better! I’m travelling at 14-15 knots on average on a smooth sea with the genoa and a reef in the main sail. I’ve been chatting to Patrice a lot, exchanging our thoughts - which cost nothing! We do this each day at 1800hrs UT."

Dominique Wavre UBP ""I spend my days half inside, half outside, waiting for the next depression...it’s vexing, especially when the others have wind. I’m not sure still how to get out of this as the area of calm airs is rather spread out. It’s not in my character to sound so resigned, but it really frustrates me and I have to make myself a coffee or read to calm my nerves!"

Marc Thiercelin Active Wear ". I should pass Cape Leeuwin next Thursday all being well. For Cape Horn, I estimate the 13 - 14 th January! Otherwise, nothing to report, as they say in the army, the sea is the place to be..."


Ellen Macarthur Kingfisher "We now have light winds, we’re reaching at 12 to 15 knots and positioning ourselves for the huge depression which is coming in behind. Its going to be a big one, and last for quite some time. The guys further back must be in it now. "

Michel Desjoyeaux PRB "Seeing the rhythm that Yves has wanted to maintain, as for myself I wouldn’t really want to follow the same pace. Even if I could go faster, it’s clear that I haven’t tried to follow his rhythm. If nobody is pushing too hard now, we’ll have a good fight later on. The aim of the game is to get through this part, not to push too hard!"


Roland Jourdain Sill "There were two series of waves and we surfed across one wave. Fun time! It would be even more fun on a Whitbread boat with 12 people at the helm. Sometimes it’s boat-breaking when the waves are the ’Mediterranean mistral’ kind and then the boat falls right down into them! Boom, don’t like that much!"

Javier Sanso Old Spice ". I was sailing under 35 knots and suddenly wind went to 50. I thought the anenometer was broken but the next gust was 60 and that definitely scared the hell out of me. I put on my weathergear quick to take the mainsail down with 2 reefs it would not go down with 60 knots, I pulled down with all my power but nothing, then I saw that the lazys were too tight. I loosened them and after a few minutes I had it all down. I put some ropes around it for safety, then I lowered the staysail. Much easier. As the waves were not big yet I did not tie myself and I work much quicker without harness, but sometimes you need it when you have to work in the front."

Patrice Carpentier VM Matériaux  "Sunday was a jobs day on the Little Yellow boat" new lazy jacks, repairs to the wind generator, other modifications. What an event: I was actually able to walk on the ’beach’ at the front of the boat without actually getting drenched. But now the wind’s risen to 25 knots from 330/320, and I’ve got the main sail up with one reef, staysail, and genoa a little furled."

Current weather conditions Lead boats in the late stages of a low pressure system.  Winds are SW from 14 to 30 knots.

Weather Forecast With the depression passing by, the winds for the leaders should subside as the next depression approaches from the south. 

What does it all mean

Parlier's slowness is a mystery.  It will be interesting when he reports what we find.  Whatever the reason, some of the pressure on those ahead of him is off.