Having got to within ten miles of Armel Le Cléac’h, the Banque Populaire VIII skipper who has lead the Vendée Globe solo round the world race since Tuesday evening, Vincent Riou sounded resigned this afternoon that any recent gains will turn to losses as Le Cléach’s foil assisted boat moves into the stronger, trade wind drag racing conditions which are set to prevail almost to the Equator some 2000 miles down the track.
Riou’s PRB is configured with classic, straight daggerboards and the 2004-5 Vendée Globe winner has been quick – as well as smart – in the 10-12kts windspeeds through the Azores high. But he admitted he now expects the ‘foilers’ – such as Banque Populaire VIII, Safran (Morgan Lagraviere) and Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) – to be quicker in the fast trade winds descent south.
“In these conditions we can make the difference. In the coming days, it’s going to be for the others (the foilers – editor’s note). I think it’s going to be like in this round the world race. Sometimes for us, sometimes for them. I was surprised to see Banque Populaire ahead of me this morning by about ten miles. I thought it was going to be hard catching him after the lead he had,” Riou said today.
After passing Madeira this morning the leading group are under gennakers, accelerating steadily towards the latitude of the Canary Islands which are 145 miles south of Banque Populaire this afternoon. Le Cléac’h had already gained six miles on PRB since lunchtime. Read on and title ripoff thanks to Brian Eno. God damn if these lyrics aren’t perfect:
And all the laughing boys are bitching
Waiting for photos
Oh the plot is so bewitching
Do your best to change the subject
Blow the wind blow blow
Lend some assistance to the object