The leading pair Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) and Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environment) are about to cross the Antipodes of the Greenwich Meridian in lighter winds. An opportunity for followers Sébastien Josse and Jean Le Cam.
Surging east, front-runners Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) and Roland Jourdain (Veolia) will pass the Greenwich Meridian line of 180° in the next hours. As the skippers cross over into the eastern hemisphere, they will each "gain" one day. But there may be other gains to be made before the next ice gate.
Behind the front pair, third-placed Sebéstian Josse (BT) and Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux, 4th) have gybed onto a more northerly line. According to this morning's rankings, Josse is just 187 nautical miles behind the leader – but with the New Zealand gate at 48° and another low pressure system developing to the east of the Kiwi island, there could well be a few more miles to grab as the fleet climb north again.
Meanwhile the next duo of Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) and Vincent Riou (PRB) have picked up the pace, digging some 20-25 miles into Foncia’s lead, on the edge of a low pressure system. The weather front is expected to be stormy and very gusty, with gusts of wind topping 50 knots (58 miles per hour) when it reaches the pair.
Close behind is the pair of Sam Davies (Roxy, GBR) and Marc Guillemot (Safran), trailing in a high pressure ridge of light winds.
Sam Davies is still gliding along at 7-10 knots, while Marc Guillemot’s pace has slackened as he attempted repairs to Safran’s main track: "I went up the mast twice this morning, but in vain. It was gruelling. I had a helmet on and knee pads, fortunately, as I really got shaken around. In spite of the fact that there were only 5-8 knots of wind in the area – that's why I decided to give it a try – the sea is really causing some awful movements… It's both exhausting and extremely dangerous. I don't think I can carry out these repairs, without anchoring, for example to the south of New Zealand."
The standings at 05:00 GMT
1-Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) - 11,339.5 miles from the finish
2-Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) - 56,9 miles from the leader
3-Sébastien Josse (BT) - 187 miles
4-Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux) - 211,8 miles
5-Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) - 404,8 miles
8-Samantha Davies (Roxy) - 1521,1 miles
10-Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar) - 1852,9 miles
11-Dee Caffari (Avaiva) - 1924,9 miles
Date created : 2008-12-23