The skippers might compare the current weather conditions to a game of chance, but Seb Josse’s manoeuvres in front seem more akin to a game of chess. Yesterday evening the BT skipper wrestled the lead off Armel Le Cléach.
Yesterday evening the BT skipper wrestled the lead off the masterful Loïck Peyron, only for Peyron to inch ahead in this morning’s rankings. And this morning he woke up in front of Armel Le Cléach at 13 miles away from his boat.
But it looks like Seb Josse has learnt a few tricks from Peyron, the grand master himself, as today’s tactics saw Josse head first from the east of the pack towards the south-west, staying in the best of the breeze, then tack back to position himself at the front of the fleet.
This close-quarters manoeuvre led some skippers to say, “It's like racing in Quiberon Bay” today. After 19 days and almost 5,000 miles of sailing they are still neck and neck, to be expected during a coastal race maybe but not during an ocean marathon.
The leading nine remain within 50 miles as they dive dead south — all except Jean Le Cam, currently showing fourth in this evening’s rankings. Whether this is a brief response to a squall, or a strategy to head straight for the Cape of Good Hope — currently some 1,600 miles away, we can only wait and see…
Sam Davies (Roxy) enjoying the Brazilian sun before the Antarctica
Behind the front-runners the game appears simpler — climb as many miles on the boats in front as possible, with Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) and Dee Caffari (Aviva, GBR) both gaining over 60 miles from yesterday, and Jonny Malbon (Artemis, GBR) taking over 100 miles out of the front runners’ lead. But the boat that’s clocked up the most miles since the last position report is Steve White (GBR) in the venerable Toe in the Water, who is also showing the current fastest VMG (position update at 1500hrs GMT).
Bringing up the rear of the fleet, Jean-Baptiste Dejanty — who restarted from Les Sables d’Olonne after a week of repairs — crossed the Equator this morning, putting all 25 racing skippers in the southern hemisphere.
1600 HRS GMT. Rankings
1- Seb Josse (BT) at 19.539,9 miles to the finish
2- Armel Le Cléac’h (Gitana Eighty) + 13.0 miles to leader
3- loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) at + 14.6 miles to leader
4- Yann Eliés (Genrali) at +14.6 miles
5. Jean Le Cam (VM Materiaux) at 17,6
9- Mike Golding, GBR, (ECOVER 3) at + 36.1 miles
11- Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) at + 191.9 miles
12- Dominique Wavre, SUI, (Temenos 2) at + 197.2 miles
13- Sam Davies, GBR, (ROXY) at + 223.3 miles
15- Dee Caffari, GBR, (AVIVA) at + 375.2 miles
Date created : 2008-11-29