|12:23 PM Wed 28 Jan 2009 GMT|
Just as he was dealt a worse set of cards by the Doldrums, so Roland Jourdain is now also slowed more than the leader was by the Azores High.
A long, slow night is bad enough but when the Foncia skipper his heading for the finish line at more than 15 knots it makes it feel all the longer. Jourdain is now 633 miles behind, and has lost nearly 100 miles to third placed Armel Le Cl?ac'h who remains - as ever - consistent.
Marc Guillemot is fighting back to challenge for fourth again and is more or less level on latitude with Sam Davies, but is still 29.6 miles miles behind in terms of DTF, and going faster than Roxy.
3.2 knots. That was the meagre speed recorded during the night by Veolia Environnement. The red boat is suffering in the Azores high, with her sails flapping listlessly at times and and speeds limited to low single figures. A stark contrast to the conditions Jourdain described yesterday as being perfect holiday weather. As with every day in the Vend?e Globe, pleasure can very quickly give way to frustration in just a few hours. Roland Jourdain's frustration this morning is down to the small elongation of the Azores high which has extended a nasty tentacle to hold him powerless while The Professor heads to the finish with the more than enough wind power, allowing him to modulate his speed to his own level.
What will be harder to bear for Jourdain is not just experiencing stickier conditions again as he did in the Doldrums, but the time spent slowed means it is longer before he makes the finish. Meanwhile Desjoyeaux is at 15 knots towards les Sables d'Olonne. Sailing 180 miles SW of the Azores, Foncia has a steady SW'ly wind pushing the white Farr design along directly to the finish. Desjoyeaux now has a very comfortable lead of 663 miles over his nearest rival, his biggest yet and could even reach the 670 miles that he had, and lost, in early 2001.
Will Armel Le Consistent in third place also feel the same effects of the Azores high ? The skipper of Brit Air, appears to want a shorter journey and is sailing further east than his two predecessors and has another 36 hours with the trade winds before knowing what he can achieve, but his simple, regular course and speeds have helped him reduce his deficit to Jourdain to 370 miles. Even just another 100 miles gained and the possibility of a windy, fast final few days and, factoring in his redress Le Cl?ac'h is entitled to be thinking that second is much more within his reach than it was a few days ago.
Off the NE corner of Brasil Samantha Davies and Marc Guillemot, 250 miles south of the Equator are approaching their Doldrums. For the first time in three days the British sailor is slower than her French rival. Davies reported they were starting to get the gusty, squally Doldrums conditions yesterday evening and was looking to a protracted period of intense sail trimming to keep Rosy moving to best effect in the unpredictable conditions.
Brian Thompson on Bahrain Team Pindar had the honour of being the fastest. Clearly, his powerful boat is well suited to these trade winds reaching conditions. His passage up the Atlantic has been impressively swift, probably quicker than Desjoyeaux and Jourdain. He is now 156.8 miles ahead of seventh placed Dee Caffari (Aviva) who averaged between 1.5 and 2 knots slower than her compatriot.
Steve White might feel that the end of more than 24 hours of depressingly slow 'sailing' is in sight as he managed to make two to four knots during the night and different times and this morning he was at 9.8 knots, preparing to fight on in his quest to catch Arnaud Boissi?res. The Akena V?randas skipper made it to within 65 miles of the Brasilian coast and has since assumed a course near to due east.
Rich Wilson, USA, (Great American III) is clearly in good humour, as well he might be after his great passage past Cape Horn, remarking in his overnight mail: 'GA3 turned NE past Staten Island earlier today, thus respecting Antarctica by leaving it to starboard. No specific time for this respecting of the mark, just the last couple of months...'
Wilson is SE of East Falkland island this morning, making 9-10 knots, while - with 1350 miles to sail to make Cape Horn, Raphael Dinelli (Fondation Oc?an Vitale) has Austrian skipper Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport-Kapsch) invigorated by his birthday yesterday and being able to set more mainsail again, catching him by 15 miles since yesterday. Nauticsport-Kapsch is now 65 miles behind.
0400 HRS GMT. Rankings, Wednesday 28th January 2009
(FRA unless stated)
1 . Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) at 1429.4 miles to finish
2 . Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) at 633 miles from first place
3 . Armel Le Cl?ac'h (Brit Air) at 1033.7 miles from first place
4 . Sam Davies (Roxy) at 2053.1 miles from first place
5 . Marc Guillemot (Safran) at 2082.7 miles from first place
6 . Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar) at 2401.8 miles from first place
7 . Dee Caffari (Aviva) at 2558.6 miles from first place
8 . Arnaud Boissi?res (Akena V?randas) at 3089.6 miles from first place
9 . Steve White (Toe in the Water) 3932.7 miles
10 . Rich Wilson (Great American III) at 5264.5 miles from first place
11 . Rapha?l Dinelli (Fondation Oc?an Vital) at 6949.2 miles from first place
12 . Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport - Kapsch) at 7022.7 miles from first place
RDG . Vincent Riou (PRB). 3rd equal. 30 boats started.
by Vendee Globe media