Michel Desjoyeaux is leading the Vendee Globe, with less than 3,000 miles to go until he reaches France. Michel has now been sailing in the lead for virtually half of the race so far of this sixth edition of the Vendée Globe.

Vendee Globe 2008-2009

Vendee Globe 2008-2009 Jacques Vapillon / DPPI

Jourdain is snared in the active Doldrums while the Foncia skipper enjoys the robust on-the-wind hard reaching conditions in the NE’ly tradewinds, concentrating simply on not pressing too hard and relishing the fast pace which brings him ever closer to victory. At the equator Mich’ Desj was nearly 21 hours ahead of the 2004 Vendée Globe race record of Vincent Riou.

For those who are returning from their first experiences solo in Big South, the return to the familiar waters off Brasil – well known to those who have crossed in everything from the MiniTransat to the Transat Jacques Vabre – seems to have sharpened their attack, giving the battling skippers back their hard racing edge.

Marc Guillemot, the skipper of Safran, who has been driven inshore, just under 90 miles off Cabo Frio, north of Rio de Janeiro to try and escape the vagaries of a regime of thundery squall, has his sights set on third place, currently occupied by Armel Le Cléac’h. Guillemot is 830 miles from Brit Air, but he knows that with his 82 hours redress (in fact 71 hours more than Le Cléac’h, who himself with be in receipt of 11 hours compensation), this is quite possible.

Except that Le Cléac’h, nicknamed “The Jackal” is well known as a cut-throat adversary who pounces on the very slightest opportunity. “I’m not giving anything away,” Said Le Cleac’h today, “ He is going to have to come up here and fight for it, if he wants third place. Until the finish line, anything can happen, even for the frontrunners and I can guarantee that life on Brit’Air is not like in ‘The Love Boat’!”

Sam Davies, in fifth may have fallen behind Guillemot recently after she too had to deal with her own South Atlantic ‘Doldrums’ but today she confirmed that she is still happy with her positioning on the course relative to Safran, which is now making back to the east.

Dee Caffari, has started her big sailmaking job aboard Aviva. She has pulled back to within 17 miles of Thompson’s Bahrain Team Pindar, while her long time French rival Arnaud Boissières is now the furthest away he has been since they entered the South Atlantic, diverging now over 200 miles to the west, forced there as he missed the ride on the weather pattern that Caffari was able to ride up to catch Thompson.

Marc Guillemot sailing Safran: “I’m starting to make my way out of a thundery zone. I’m in light winds off Brazil. I can see the clouds getting lighter. The sun should be appearing shortly, which would tend to indicate that I was coming out of the transition zone. Already this afternoon, I’ll be back with northerly winds, which should push me along more quickly. I’m coming out of a system, where I’ve been sailing for five days and I’ll be entering another one, which should take meall the way to the Doldrums. My race is very different from the one I had prepared before the start. Looking back, it has been an enriching experience. Lots of emotions, lots of excitement. In spite of all these emotions and technical problems, I still feel fully motivated. This motivation comes from the goals I have carefully selected. If there weren’t one boat after another to catch, I wouldn’t be pushing so hard. Now, I have Armel in my sights. Even if he is quite some way ahead, I think it is good to give yourself ambitious goals. That ensures you don’t ease off. Even if I like the skipper of Brit Air, I’m not going to get emotional about grabbing third place from him.”

Roland Jourdain sailing Veolia Environnement: “A true Doldrums-like atmosphere today. A bit tired after the night, as I kept starting and stopping… I’ve seen just about every type of cloud possible and as there was some wind, the seas are rough again. So, it’s not exactly the happiest of mornings. It’s always more or less the same. Our old friend, the Doldrums could be with us all the way across the Equator… The icing on the cake is I don’t have any electricity for the keel, so I had a lot of strenuous work in the night. The wind isn’t very strong, but when you see the potential energy in these cloud formations, you tell yourself you could be moving along. On the way down, there was no wind, but now what worries me is that I came out from under a huge cloud this morning and there were clear skies and then the cloud moved right around and settled back ahead of me again.
Honestly! “

Vendée Globe Rankings

1 . Michel DesjoyeauxFoncia at 2950.5 miles to finish
2 . Roland Jourdain – Veolia Environnement at 373.5 miles from first place
3 . Armel Le Cléac’h – Brit Air at 1019.7 miles from first place
4 . Marc Guillemot (Safran) at 1848.3 miles from first place
5 .
Samantha DaviesRoxy at 1919.2 miles from first place
6 .
Brian ThompsonPindar at 2582.2 miles from first place
7 .
Dee CaffariAviva at 2598.9 miles from first place
8 . Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) at 2740.2 miles from first place
9 .
Steve WhiteToe in the Water at 3664.61 miles from first place
10 .
Rich WilsonGreat American III at 5162.4 miles from first place
11 . Raphaël Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) at 6878.8 miles from first place
12 . Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport . Kapsch) at 6887.4 miles from first place
Vincent RiouPRB 3rd equal. 30 boats started.

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