Vendee Globe: Sebastian Josse staying where the pressure is best

Tuesday, 09 December 2008


Overnight Sébastian Josse took BT back into 2nd place sailing a few knots faster than his closest rivals - Jean-Pierre Dick 28 miles ahead and Roland Jourdain 8 miles behind at 10:00 GMT, although there is still over 60 miles of north-south separation.  BT passed north of Prince Edward Island yesterday but we can expect to see the frontrunners converge as they head south-east to pass beneath the Kerguelen Islands - approximately 970 miles ahead.  

There are no real tactical moves to make at this stage of the race, apart from staying in the best wind pressure possible - hence why we have seen Seb gybe two times this morning.  BT is now between two depressions - the one that passed over the fleet at the tail-end of last week and a new depression forming behind that will benefit the backmarkers first. "Today conditions are quite calm as we are between two low pressure systems. There is about 15 knots of wind and the waves are about 2m high, it's grey, no colour outside at all and it's cold with a lot of humidity inside the boat so it is really hard to dry anything. I'm happy with my position - the boats in the south are on the shorter course but it is more dangerous because of the ice.  It's not easy to manage the strategy between the north and south but I try to manage the best I can, to make a nice course and not go 200% or even 100% all the time, just to make a nice curve on the map!"

The next couple of days will be difficult with unstable wind as it shifts from the north-west to the south-west which means plenty of trimming to make the best of the breeze. Wind strength should also oscillate within a 15 to 30 knots range.   

The lighter conditions do not necessarily make life on board any easier - it is still bone-chillingly cold with dense humidity combined with the permanent stress that comes with racing through the Southern Ocean.  "I feel in good shape although it's hard when it's so cold. When you go outside it takes 5 minutes to prepare, to put on all the different layers and protective clothing.  I am happy to be in the Southern Ocean but I will also be happy to leave it!"

Julie Royer

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 December 2008 )