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Rhythm of the Race After thousands of hours spent in design, building, prepreratioin, trialing and modifying the 24 boats of the Vendee Globe started. Twicey delayed due to heavy winds and seas the actual start saw very little wind, 4-7 knots.
Several French skippers were agressive at the start. Whirlpool's Catherine Chabaud was the first to hoist a spinnaker. PRB's Michel Desjoyeaux hoisted a spinnaker, jibed away and led the fleet by 2 minutes at the first turning mark.
Standings table by
Position reports have not yet been issued.
Fleet round up section Other skippers with good starts included: Joe Seeton, Eric Dumont and Thomas Coville.
Once the start was over, the boats sailed in light air with large seas. Soon after, several boats developed problems. Patrick de Radigues returned to Les Sables d'Olonne with autopilot prolems.
Roland Jourdain brough Sill back for 2 reasons. One was a broken gennaker halyard. The other dental damage sustained onboard. Arriving at 0215, Jourdain and Sill sped three hours and fifteen minutes in Les Sables d'Olonne. A new halyard was reaved and Jourdain was examined by dentists. 13 hours after the start Sill was back racing in WSW winds of 10 knots.
Most seriously Mike Golding and Team Group 4 have been dismasted. Group 4's mast broke and went over the side just 44 miles into the race. Golding's plans to return to Les Sables d'Olonne and step a replacment rig. To continue racing, Golding must restart in 9 days. He is motoring Group 4 back to port.
Ellen Macarthur Kingfisher: "I didnít start too well but soon caught up the front pack after sunset."
Eric Durmont Un Univers de Services in his 2nd Vendee: "I am on top form today! So happy to be off and feel really at one with my boat. I managed to get 2-3 hours sleep overnight as well."
Michel Desjoyeaux PRB: "After the rain storm, the wind shifted North and then North West slowly. When I escaped from this wind hole I clocked winds of up to 30 knots. I have had every sail up since the start."
Current weather conditions Weather observations in the area report SW by W winds at 10 knots. Farther to the south winds are from the North @ 6 knots. The trip to Cape Finisterre maybe a long one due to these light winds.
Weather Forcast West/South West 10-20 knots. With the fleet headed for Spain's Cape Finisterre they will be beating.
What does it all mean
The trip to Cape Finisterre maybe a long one due to these light winds. Skippers will have to decide whether to go inshore or offshore.