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Rhythm of the Race A mixture of fairly average straight line speeds.
1. PRB 13:1 North 32:1 West
2. Kingfisher 12 North 32:0 West + 76 miles
3. Sill 7:3 North 35:2 West +392 miles
Fleet round up section
Again PRB leads the fleet. Michel Desjoyeaux is using standard match racing tactics, covering by staying between his opponent and the mark. The past 24 hours couldn't have gone better for him. He lost only a single mile to 2nd place Kingfisher, and remains in a good covering position. The only negative note is a .6 knot deficit in boat speed to Kingfisher.
Sill has returned to a podium position. Roland Jourdain took a strong west position crossing the Doldrums which has moved him up a spot. He leads Active Wear by 13 miles.
UBP is at 2į south and appears to be slowing with a speed of 6.8 knots. This may allow Thomas Coville and Sobedo to make up some of the 87 mile deficit.
Once again the two British boats have changed slots. EBP-Gartmore is now ahead of Group 4 by 22 miles. However, Group 4 is several knots faster, so another change could easily occur.
Josh Hall EBP-Gartmore "My sails are in good nick, especially the main sail, itís in great shape after 20000 or so miles! Iíll change to a new Solent in Kevlar when we get to the Doldrums. The wind instruments arenít working so Iím having to just use my two good eyes! My target is to still catch Catherine and finish before Christophe Auguinís record time."
Yves Parlier Aquitaine Innovations "I feel
better, and the leg is improving after that cold bath in Stewart Island. Iíve
eaten some couscous with Bayona ham Ė the morning krill didnít really fill
Bernard Gallay Voila Fr. "At the moment itís better to follow your instinct, the wind and the barometer than just the weather maps."
Marc Thiercelin Active Wear "I had a difficult Doldrums, and I night which I will surely remember all my life. It was raining cats and dogs as it can only do in the Doldrums, with some cargos very near, 10 000 changes of sails, manoeuvres, wind turning all over the place...it was a real pain, but itís gone now."
Michel Desjoyeaux PRB "The NE flux has stabilised and I can see that Ellen is aligned on my route so I am quietly keeping an eye on her. I changed the sail configuration yesterday but Iíll see if I have to change the solent for the staysail. With the forward ballast and the fact that PRB is one of the narrowest hulls in the fleet, she moves better through the chop. In two days Iíll be able to see clearly my route up to the 8th February, which will be up to 3 days from the finish."
Ellen Macarthur Kingfisher "My sails are good, not brand new anymore but I am very happy...There is always an opportunity, but I am really looking at the forecasts, and also Bilou and Marc."
Current Weather North of the equator fast trade wind sailing.
Weather Forecast According to Michel Desjoyeaux NE winds switching to the east as his pairing nears the Azores islands.
What does it all mean
With around 2 weeks of sailing left, could it be that Ellen Macarthur is actually too close to PRB? So, close she can be covered easily rather than swooping in with superior boat speed and maneuverability from behind?