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Pindar braves rough weather.

BAHRAIN Team Pindar skipper Brian Thompson moved up to 12th last night in the VendAe Globe non-stop, round-the-world yacht race, after Loick Peyron's Gitana Eighty boat dismasted.Peyron was in third place around 15 nautical miles from then-leader Sebasiten Josse on BT when the damages occurred. The cause of the dismasting was unknown, but the severe conditions of the Southern Ocean could have played a part.

The Frenchman therefore dropped out of the rankings, allowing all the other skippers to gain one position.

Thompson was one of the 23 remaining sailors who improved his place, although he was still 526.9 nautical miles from leader Jean-Pierre Dick on Paprec-Virbac 2, who took over for Josse last night. Dick and Josse were sparring for position, and were almost side by side, separated by just 0.3 miles.

Thompson was sailing his Bahrain Team Pindar boat, named after His Majesty King Hamad, at an average speed of 14.2 knots as he made his way across the Southern Ocean and around the South Pole. He was well off the pace of yesterday's fastest boats, which included Josse who had the best average speed of 20.4 knots.

"Today I've had good speeds and the same sail configuration," said Thompson prior to learning of Peyron's dismasting. "I have been changing course on the autopilot as the wind alters, and filling and emptying the water ballast tanks as the trim requires it.

"It's very unusual to have a day without any sail changing action on the bow. There are some big surfs up to 28 knots, and a very bumpy downwind ride.

"Heading now on an easterly course towards Marion and Prince Edward Island, but later tonight the wind will start to shift into the west and I will start to arc more south-east, before gybing tomorrow towards the Kerguelen Islands.

"I am happy to be slightly north of where the routing software is guiding me, to give me room to manoeuvre round a forecast low in six days, and to stay in 25 to 30 knot winds rather than 30 to 35.

"It seems faster in those conditions, although the weather routing always takes you south here and into the strongest possible winds - which is often slower due to the sea state.

Wavre was nearly 300 miles ahead of Thompson last night, while Davies dropped to 14th close to 70 miles behind. Bernard Stamm on Cheminees Poujoulat moved up to the place behind Thompson, just around 30 miles back.

Rounding up the frontrunners behind Dick and Josse were Roland Jourdain on Veolia Environnement in third, Mike Golding on Ecover in fourth, and Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia in fifth.

Jean Le Cam on VM Materiaux, Vincent Riou on PRB, and Armel Le Cleac'h on Brit Air rounded up the top eight.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Dec 11, 2008
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