Vincent Riou (PRB) and Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) are revelling in their own success and have opened up a lead of nearly 400 miles over the next two boats in the Vendee Globe

Having escaped the clutches of the St Helena High and entered the gateway to the south on a building south-westerly flow Vincent Riou (PRB) and Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) are reveling in their own success and have opened up a lead of nearly 400 miles over the next two boats – Roland Jourdain (Sill) and Sebastien Josse (VMI).

As predicted, now the leaders are through to the southern racetrack with such a massive margin, the 2004 Vendee Globe is looking likely to become a two-boat race. Having said that, however, the Southern Ocean playground is where falls are likely to happen so nothing should be taken for granted at this stage in the race.

Chatting from the boat in a radio interview Riou said he couldn’t have wished for a better way to enter the deep south commenting: “?we’re both [Riou and Le Cam] very relaxed about our position in comparison to the others. I mustn’t brag about it too much, as one day the glove may be on the other hand, but it’s better being two together down here, two reasonable chaps, rather than in amongst a group of hotheads. From a safety point of view, this is more relaxing.” He continued: “Like everyone else, I am preparing for the south – checking my boat is all ok, checking the weather carefully, getting my food sorted and checking everything.”

Mike Golding (Ecover) is still smarting from being stuck in virtually no wind but as he said in an earlier interview: “Obviously I’m very frustrated but I’m sailing as fast as I can to get south. I have been working really hard to keep up with the group and I can see a lot of hard work going backwards, I couldn’t have done anything more than I did. Since falling a little behind at the Cape Verde islands, I’ve found it hard to catch up. I need to get into the same weather system as those ahead but I can’t see that happening in the near future.” Unfortunately for Golding the weather situation hasn’t improved much this morning and, as predicted, those behind and ahead are benefiting from new wind while Golding snails along at 5kts.

Having taken an interesting and fairly risky hitch out west three days ago Alex Thomson (Boss) has managed to retain his position in the second group but like Golding suffered in fickle winds and now trails the leader by over 700 miles. His current westerly position however, 24 21.96’w, shows more wind which is allowing him to track south at 11kts, the same speed as Josse in third place.

Thomson is likely to be one to keep a close eye on a he heads south. Over the last three weeks he’s proved that he has no problem with speed and his shown that he’s definitely not afraid of taking a few risks but the question is, will he be able to control his hunger for speed and not risk jeopardizing his top position by pushing it just a bit too far?

Speaking this morning from Hugo Boss Thomson said: “Yesterday was an appalling day with no wind, I contemplated taking down the sails and dropping the anchor. Today’s better, with more wind and I’m hoping to pick up some miles on Mike [Golding] who currently seems to be going fairly slow. What I’m really looking forward to now is the south. In five days it will be very windy indeed. I do have a small amount of trepdiation but I’m happy about the situation. My immediate plan is to finalise all my jobs before I reach the big winds so I can then concentrate on the sailing.”

Despite being 1,688 miles behind the leader spirits still remain high aboard Brother in 20th position. Norbert Sedlacek has been keeping himself occupied and content by carrying out DIY. Yesterday afternoon it was fixing the waterpump. He even managed to film the repair job to show his friends!

Rankings as of Saturday, November 27, 2004 – 10h00 GMT (11:00 AM FR)

PRBVincent Riou 36 27.16′ S 10 32.92′ W

Bonduelle Jean Le Cam 36 42.60′ S 11 00.44′ W 10.6 miles from leader

Sill Véolia Roland Jourdain 33 11.92′ S 17 24.36′ W 389.1 miles from leader

VMI Sébastien Josse 33 08.56′ S 17 23.64′ W 390.5 miles from leader

Ecover Mike Golding 31 42.64′ S 19 23.56′ W 522.9 miles from leader

Hugo Boss Alex Thomson 31 42.96′ S 24 21.96′ W 729.0 miles from leader

Virbac-Paprec Jean-Pierre Dick 29 55.96′ S 23 54.92′ W 773.2 miles from leader

Pro-Form Marc Thiercelin 28 39.96′ S 23 13.60′ W 792.1 miles from leader

Temenos Dominique Wavre 29 52.72′ S 24 23.60′ W 794.9 miles from leader

Arcelor Dunkerque Joé Seeten 28 17.72′ S 23 11.00′ W 804.5 miles from leader

Hellomoto Conrad Humphreys 28 22.80′ S 23 20.28′ W 807.5 miles from leader

Skandia Nick Moloney 29 19.44′ S 24 45.96′ W 830.6 miles from leader

UUDS Hervé Laurent 29 21.40′ S 26 31.64′ W 902.5 miles from leader

VM Matériaux Patrice Carpentier 27 24.72′ S 26 47.70′ W 982.3 miles from leader

Ocean Planet Bruce Schwab 28 47.24′ S 29 34.44′ W 1050.7 miles from leader

AKENA Vérandas Raphaël Dinelli 23 57.76′ S 27 30.04′ W 1150.8 miles from leader

ROXY Anne Liardet 21 31.92′ S 29 01.40′ W 1312.5 miles from leader

Max Havelaar / Best Western Benoît Parnaudeau 21 49.44′ S 29 57.84′ W 1337.9 miles from leader

Benefic Karen Leibovici 20 53.10′ S 29 29.58′ W 1345.3 miles from leader

Brother Norbert Sedlacek 12 32.00′ S 28 20.60′ W 1688.6