Vendee Globe still at mercy of weather

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The sea and wind which has taken relentless toll of the solo sailors in the Vendée Globe race continued to wreak havoc over Christmas but left the only two women competitors, both British, looking stronger and stronger. Sam Davies in Roxy was poised to take over seventh place, Dee Caffari 9th in Aviva. There are 10,000 miles to go, but the big turn at Cape Horn approaches and spirits were high on both boats.

As Seb Josse limped north away from 60-knot winds and mountainous waves to seek calmer waters for a full assessment and possible repairs to the deck after being hit and flattened when in third place, Marc Guillemote, who had stood by while Yann Elies was rescued by the Royal Australian Navy after breaking his leg, was seeking the shelter of Port Ross to make repairs to to the track on the mast which attaches the mainsail.

Davies in on the eigfh-year old boat on which the current leader, Michel Desjoyeaux won the race in 2000, beating Ellen MacArthur, whose Offshore Challenges owns Josse's BT, into second place. Desjoyeaux is locked in non-stop battle with Roland Jourdain in second place.

Equally tight are the first two places in the Sydney to Hobart classic as Bob Oatley's Wild Oats, seeking a fourth successive first over the line victory, and Grant Wharington's Skandia were the only two left who could also break Oatley's 2005 record of 1d 18hr 40min 10sec. It was possible, but the last few miles up Tasmania's Derwent River are notoriously slow.