Roland Jourdain is faster than race leader Michel Desjoyeaux but still has 319 miles to make up
Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) is back on the hunt again as breezes have moderated and veered for the front-runners, meaning the Veolia Environnement skipper is going faster this morning than leader Michel Desjoyeaux.
The duo look set to have just light to moderate E’ly and NE’lies for a while as they parallel the Brazilian coast. Jourdain looks to be reaching in winds of around 10-15 knots and has been nearly two knots faster than Desjoyeaux – but still has a deficit of 319 miles to try and make up on the leader.
Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) has also made good progress over the past 24 hours. In the 0400hrs rankings yesterday (12 January), the Brit Air skipper was still 791.7 miles from the frontrunner, but this morning the gap has narrowed to 688.7 miles, a gain of over 100 miles.
The weather conditions have been more favourable for him, and it is not unthinkable that there could just be a way between now and the finish to rise through the ranks.
Sam Davies (ROXY) in fourth place has been making steady progress and reported that she was buzzed by a playful fighter jet as she passed the Falklands Islands. Her ascent of the South Atlantic now looks a sticky one as a high pressure zone, more than 750 miles across, is in front of her. Marc Guillemot (Safran, pictured), 325 miles in her wake, suffered the same fate as Davies, in the virtually the same spot, slowing to a crawl in the transition zone on the corner of the Atlantic and the Pacific.
Five hundred miles still to go to Cape Horn in stormy, gusty winds Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar ) reported that he had set up his boat well for the blow setting a storm jib and deep reefed main for the 60-70 knots gusts. He has spoken several times to his compatriot Dee Caffari (Aviva) in the teeth of the gale, each offering mutual support and advice. Thompson has taken as much easting as possible to try and allow the worst of the gale to slide down to his west, and Caffari has followed suit.
Steve White (Toe in the Water ) is on typically robust form, 70 miles to the final gate he has rebuilt the motor for his back up pilot so now has a full suite of autopilots as back up. Reaching in 20-30 knots of breeze with a three metre swell, White reported last night that he knows no feeling in the world better than his boat hitting a sweet spot for minutes at a time, surfing steadily across the long Pacific swell.