Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Running in good breeze

Mike Golding on Ecover 3 - Vendee Globe Race:

Race report by Nat Ives: Currently all those who have escaped major mishap are now around Finisterre and enjoying running conditions in good breeze down the Portugese coast. As the fleet rounded the top of Spain the lead group of six were able to extend a little as they sailed in stronger breeze but now that everyone is in the same patch of ocean and on the same point of sail the gap is remaining fairly constant. Mike is quite clearly relishing these conditions as in the last 12 hours up to the 0930 report only Jean Le Cam has been able to match him for pace.

Those of you watching closely will have noticed that Jojo (Seb Josse) has now taken the lead. Whilst the other five boats from the leading pack have continued to push West he has been taking a more Southerly route and so is gaining more miles down the route that the organisers use to measure the fleets progress against. As the fleet continue further they will get properly into the North Easterly trades and we can expect to see them all gybe onto Port before the day is out. Only then will we be able to see how Seb’s move plays out. Just 50 miles back Mike is gaining all the time. Managing to sail faster than everyone else and maintain a more Southerly course. Before the race he was confident of Ecover 3’s VMG running credentials and this seems to be coming to the fore.

Once they get into the trades the sea state should settle down and it will be a good time for skippers to get on with some house-keeping after the brutal start to the race. With the NE trades properly established and the Low Pressure to the West forecast to remain relatively stationary (for now at least!) it should be straightforward sailing passing just to the West of Madeira and on toward the Cape Verdes leaving the Canaries some distance off - unlike the recent Volvo Ocean Race where some boats weaved their way through the islands. Predictions currently show Mike getting close to the Cape Verde’s on Sunday night and then his mind will be considering how to approach the Doldrums where huge gains and losses can be made. - -