French duo Jean-Pierre Dick and Jérémie Beyou are on the cusp of winning the tenth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre.
At 0600hrs UTC/GMT their IMOCA Open 60 Virbac-Paprec 3 was less than 20 miles from the finish line holding a lead of over 160 miles to British boat Hugo Boss, skippered by Alex Thomson with Spain’s Guillermo Altadill.
They have lead for 12 days of the 4730 miles course which left Le Havre on Wednesday 2nd November.
Thomson and Altadill have sailed a near perfect race, second since November 8th and always in pursuit of the blue arrow, Virbac-Paprec 3. The third step of the podium remains a close battle between Banque Populaire (Armel Le Cléac'h and Christopher Pratt) and Macif (François Gabart and Sebastien Col) who were still only 16 miles apart, just over an hour at their current speeds. In the light and unstable winds, with threatening squalls, this 16 miles buffer could still prove tenable. Groupe Bel, which went for a southerly option on the approach to the Caribbean remains fifth ahead of Safran which won the 2009 edition. Sailing downwind with no spinnakers left is a handicap for the Burton bothers on Bureau Vallée who are seventh ahead of Mirabaud and Mike Golding and Bruno Dubois in ninth on Gamesa.
Always on the attack, the Yves Blevec on Actual and Samuel Manuard are now an incredible 400 miles ahead of Maitre Jacques. Less than 500 miles from the finish, Actual are sailing between Gamesa and Mirabaud. Maitre Jacques pass the Dominican Republic at over 16 knots.
No change in the order of the Class 40 fleet, Aquarelle.com leads by 160 miles with 445 miles to go until they can break out of the Atlantic into the Caribbean. Britain’s 40 Degrees holds a good third, with Hannah Jenner sailing with American co-skipper Jesse Naimark Rowse now 52 miles ahead of their nearest challengers Norway’s Rune Aasberg and Simen Lovgren on Solo. 40 Degrees is some 106 miles short of second placed ERDF des Pieds et des Mains. American flagged 11th Hour Racing are fifth 211 miles behind Solo.
Standings at 1700hrs CET on Wednesday, november 17th, 2011
1 - Virbac-Paprec 3 (Jean-Pierre Dick - Jérémie Beyou) : 12,1 milles to finish
2 - Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson - Guillermo Altadill) : 113,5 milles to leader
3 - Banque Populaire (Armel Le Cléac'h - Christopher Pratt): 189,2 milles to leader
1 - Actual (Yves Le Blevec - Samuel Manuard) : 440,6 milles to finish
2 - Maître Jacques (Loïc Fequet - Loïc Escoffier) : 400,3 milles to leader
1 - Aquarelle.com (Yannick Bestaven - Eric Drouglazet) : 1475,9 milles to finish
2 - ERDF Des Pieds et des Mains (Damien Seguin - Yoann Richomme) : 153,5 milles to leader
3 - 40 Degrees (Hannah Jenner - Jesse Naiwark) : 261,1 milles to leader
Full Rankings on the Transat Jacques website