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28 December 2000

Rhythm of the Race A slow time for the front of the fleet as they cross a high pressure.

Standings table 

Top 3

1.  PRB 54 South 179 East
2.  Sill 55 South 174 East + 154  miles 
3.  Kingfisher 54 South 169 East +341 miles

Fleet round up section

Superior recent weather routing has left PRB with a solid 154 mile lead.  Sill in 2nd has 187 miles in hand over Kingfisher.  PRB is a bit slower than her pursuers.  This could mean that PRB is entering a variable phase between weather systems.  All three should experience so the distances could change a bit over the next day.

In addition to leading, PRB has passed the halfway point of the race.  To date Michel Desjoyeaux has sailed PRB for 1171 hours at an average of 10.3 knots.  At the same point in the last race, Christophe Augin has sailed for 1238 hours at a speed of 9.7 knots

In a pre race article I predicted that a speed increase of 19% over the last sailing of the race was likely.  This increase gives a speed of 10.27 knots.  Michel Desjoyeaux and PRB are sailing right at this predicted level.

Desjoyeaux's current pace is to finish in 98 days.  However, this would seem unlikely as the Atlantic will feature lighter and more contrary winds.  

A time of approximately 101 days seems more realistic in the end.

Skipper Communications

Simone Bianchetti "I’m playing some local music, it was in a Christmas parcel. A bit like Breton music! It’s nice, I feel like I’m at home when I play this music."

Josh Hall EBP-Gartmore "although we are on a solo race, with the satcoms and websites and telephone interviews and video conferences it feels a little like being in a public gold fish bowl. Of course it is these things that create the sponsorship to come racing these days but at Christmas I felt I wanted to switch off from it a little and just communicate with the people very close to me that I love the that’s what I did!!"

Patrice Carpentier VM Matériaux "The weathere was superb yesterday and so I decided to climb up the mast. When I got up there, I had to take off my gloves and so I put them in the trouser pocket of my oilskins. When I got down and back inside the cabin, could I find my gloves? Impossible! So I took off my deck boots to put on my ‘house’ boots and voila… I found my gloves: the left one in the left boot, the right one in the right boot!"

Roland Jourdain Sill "I don’t understand what Mich is going to do in the North, may be he is trying to avoid some low pressure centres, just like the one I was stuck in yesterday. We’ll see. Myself I am trying to find the best wind angle to go as fast as possible. The weather forecast for the next days seems to uncertain to make plans."

Michel Desjoyeaux PRB "I’d really come back, worked so hard and now I’ve lost it all! I was behind Ellen, when the wind eased off for us both. She managed to get away but I didn’t. I climbed North to avoid the centre of the depression and there I lost out again. I’m just raging, I’ve no idea why!"

Bernard Gallay Voila Fr. "It was funny yesterday, during a conversation with Patrice Carpentier, he told me to read a book he had for Christmas and I was just finishing it! When I stopped in New Zealand eight years ago I met a couple who had a boatyard, so I told Parlier and Dubois about them as they will be able to help them.”

Ellen Macarthur Kingfisher "We are just sailing under the most western part of New Zealand as I type, and in just over 24 hours time we shall be on the same longitude as Auckland. I think Kingfisher is feeling she’s close to home right now, though we’ve had a talk, and I’ve told her that we might stop off the next time round."

Current weather conditions For the top 5 boats winds range from 10.0 to 22.0 knots.  Direction-wise from 230° to 276°.  The rich get richer as leader PRB has the best wind.

Weather Forecast Wind coming on the beam for the leaders.  Then a variable period as they sail between weather systems.

What does it all mean

Despite constant claims by Desjoyeaux that he does not want to push too hard he is on a record pace.  Those behind will have to sail that much more above historical levels to pass him.