First to pick up the trade winds, PRB has retaken pole from Kingfisher, and leads the Vendee fleet north through the Atlantic
PRB’s more westerly position in the Doldrums paid off and Mich touched the Trade Winds about 10 hours before Ellen and managed to get away to the north and west – now holding a 46-mile lead. Kingfisher finally felt the full effects and the relief of the exit lane from the Doldrums late last night, and she is now sailing in a 15 knot north-easterly wind, sails close-hauled, racing upwind towards the Azores high pressure system – the next meteorological hurdle.
The two leaders have closed right up with Active Wear and SILL who are now crossing the Equator. The big question is whether they have stopped in the same way as PRB’s and Kingfisher’s progress halted in the Doldrums. Right now they remain very much in contention with SILL’s westerly option putting him just 180 miles to the south of Kingfisher.
The Battle of the Brits continues as Mike Golding on Group 4, having lost his lead over Gartmore, is now back in 8th place, some 56 miles ahead of his compatriot Josh Hall, and 600 behind Catherine Chabaud on Whirlpool.
In a link with Kingfisher, Ellen described her situation:
What a relief. The last 2 days were so hard. We touched the Trade Winds finally towards the end of yesterday. Mich’s move to the west certainly paid for him as he got the wind first, once I lost my westerly position I never had the opportunity to get back there. I think he got the breeze about 10 hours before me – our exit ticket from the frustrations of the Doldrums. So I’m not surprised that he has got away, but I’m still kicking myself for my mistake 3 days ago when I fell asleep after climbing the mast, and let the boat head further east. I always wanted to be west, but that moment of fatigue lost me that advantage. At least the repair was done, but I can’t help thinking where I would be if I’d held that more westerly position going in to the calms.
I’m actually suffering quite badly from sunburn. As if sleep wasn’t hard enough, now its uncomfortable lying on my back! I did get a couple of hours sleep last night, which is more than the previous two put together, and I do feel a little recharged. Yesterday, despite the temporary ranking of first, was one of the lowest moments in the race for me. I was exhausted.
I’m now studying hard the conditions to the north of the Trade Winds, as we have to be deciding now what strategy to take – to say close upwind and as far east as possible or crack off a little to the west and go faster. It’s a real chess game. There are still lots of choices to make, and I think any of the first four boats could still pull this off over the next 3000 miles.
The current top ten ranking:
1 – PRB
2 – KINGFISHER
3 – ACTIVE WEAR
4 – SILL
5 – UNION
6 – SODEBO
7 – WHIRLPOOL
8 – TEAM GROUP 4
9 – EBP
10 – VOILA