Joé Seeten and Conrad Humphreys Vendee Globe finish could be a re-run of the amazing finish by Vincent Riou and Jean Le Cam two weeks ago
At the entry into the Bay of Biscay, the duel between Joé Seeten (Arcelor Dunkerque) and Conrad Humphreys (Hellomoto) is shaping up to be like a remake of the amazing finish by Vincent Riou and Jean Le Cam back on 2 February.
The duo have the same north south separation (860 miles from the finish), the French skipper 190 mile further north, the same high pressure conditions forcing the Dunkirk skipper to flirt close to the centre in search of a similar northerly wind shift. The British sailor on the chase behind is a touch further east as they head for Les Sables d’Olonne.
Seeten’s lead has shrunk overnight to 21.5 miles and Humphreys is still benefiting from more pressure than his adversary. Once again it’s the movement of the anticyclone which is the referee of the duel. Arcelor Dunkerque, like PRB 10 days earlier, may be able to make the winning tack towards the finish in a northerly wind, whilst Humphreys may be able to push his Hellomoto quicker into the east as Seeten is slowed in the calms from the anticyclone. Bruce Schwab (Ocean Planet) is continuing along valiantly on his rather unorthodox easterly rounding of the depression off the Canaries. He is gradually curving northwards towards the archipelago, finally reaping the rewards of downwind conditions. After some 22000 miles of racing, the American can no longer bear to make his boat suffer upwind. Prepared to stretch out his route, he is tracking down the gentler points of sail and more favourable seas to get his boat safely back to Les Sables d’Olonne and become the first American to be ranked in a Vendée Globe.
At around 0200 GMT this morning Anne Liardet (Roxy) made her entrance into the Northern hemisphere after 99 days at sea. At 32 degrees of longitude west, Anne is hunting down the shortest course for crossing the doldrums. Raphaël Dinelli (Akena Verandas) and Karen Leibovici (Benefic) are continuing close-hauled up the coast of Brazil. Raphaël is 330 miles east of Salvador de Bahia and Karen is 340 miles south-east of the city, an area she knows from the Mini Transat 2001.