Roland Jourdain's slow progress has seen him lose another 70 miles to Michel Desjoyeaux
For Vendée’s first and second placed boats, it is a case of the ‘have’ and ‘have-not’ today, and there is little prospect of the situation improving very quickly for Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) in second.
Michel Desjoyeaux (pictured, Foncia) has around 20 knots of NE’ly trade winds and is sprinting north – more than 500 miles north of the Equator.
Roland Jourdain has not got very much wind at all, and is still struggling slowly north with 20 miles to reach the Equator at 06:00 GMT this morning. Overnight, between the rankings, ‘Bilou’ made just 37 miles and by the looks of this morning’s weather files he could have at least another 100 miles of painfully slow going before he can breathe again in the NE’ly trade winds.
It will get worse before it can get better for him. The slow going, compared with Michel’s regular 15-knot averages, has seen Veolia Environnement debit another 70 miles and is now 440 miles behind Foncia.
For the leader the wind is stable but the seas are fairly rough forcing Desjoyeaux to drop his bow down from the direct route and head more north-north-westwards, which will also enable him to round the Azores high, which is stretching out to the west. With his comprehensive lead Michel Desjoyeaux is sailing prudently, while at the same time looking towards the future.
For Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) in third place the winds off Brazil seem very tired and he is only rarely managing to go beyond 10 knots boat speed off Bahia.
Marc Guillemot (Safran) is struggling in squally showers and hot, tropical air. 200 miles further east Sam Davies (Roxy) is still having to wait. She had a good spell in the evening to midnight, before slowing down to a crawl. Her consolation is that Guillemot has had much the same kind of night close to the Brazilian coast.
The gang of three behind have not been much better with Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar) and Dee Caffari (Aviva) facing headwinds, while Arnaud Boissières (Akéna Vérandas) heading northwards is trying to get around the thundery systems developing off Rio de la Plata. Thompson and Caffari moved east around midnight to try and catch some off the extra breeze generated by a thundery low pressure system, and Thompson is moving better this morning, making nine knots. 260 miles to their west Arnaud Boissières is now 134 miles behind Caffari although moving at much the same speed.