Frankly it's pants, but the position map does work. Here's how

After half a day trying to work out how the Route du Rhum position map works, the IPC Media computer department gave up its cross platform tests on PCs and Macs and admitted defeat. So that’s all of us baffled.

It turns out the thing does work after all, as the Route du Rhum organisers have just explained to me, even if it is incomprehensible to the 99 per cent of us with normal brain function. So if you’ve concluded the map isn’t working and thrown in the towel, here’s how to operate it – assuming, that is, you’ve got the appropriate Flash plug-in. If not, you can download it from the Macromedia link on the site.

1. Click ‘2D map’ on left hand menu of English version home page  /> Click ‘OK’

3. Click on one of the menus at the top of the page, eg ‘Multicoques 60’ (60ft trimarans); ‘Monocoques 60’ (60ft monohulls), etc

4. Wait impatiently while it downloads

5. Use the Sherlock Holmes detection device to zoom into the tiny coloured dots that represent the fleet – currently represented as a new archipelago in Biscay

6. Place magnifying glass crosshairs on individual boats and you’ll see the name of the boat, its course and speed.

7. Click again on the boat and its track will appear. To get all the fleet’s relative tracks, you have to go round and click on all the boats. Great.

To get a ranking table, click the class you’re interested in and then the button on the top right that reads ‘Classement complet’. Be aware, however, that the rankings are very misleading. If one yacht’s position wasn’t included in the last poll, they simply disappear off the table, as if they’ve sunk or been vaporised.

This morning Dominique Wavre (Temenos) had disappeared off the face of the earth; this afternoon Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac) has vanished. In fact, they were lying 4th and 5th. The placings also go up the creek if the polls aren’t simultaneous. Today, they were comparing boats polled at 0800 with others polled at 1100.

So there you have it, technology in action. Clever, isn’t it?