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Vendee Globe - Thomson snags third, Wavre under threat

by Vendee Globe on 12 Jan 2013
Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss - 2012 Vendee Globe © Christophe Launay
In the Vendee Globe, the weekend is almost upon us and for the twelve sailors still in the race, they are not thinking about donning their glad rags, or disco dancing, but tacks, gybes and sail trimming. Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) strengthened his hold on his third place. Yesterday, ahead of the game, François Gabart (Macif) tacked first followed, seven hours later, by Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire).

Much later, in the Pacific, Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM) gybed twice on his way to Cape Horn. But watch this space as Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) is under threat of the duelling duo of Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) and Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered).

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) westerly route paid dividends, yesterday, as he snatched third place from Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3). In the forthcoming days, he may see the conditions lighten and the gap may close down. The battle for third place is going to be hard one and there is still more than half the Atlantic to go.

All change yesterday, as the skippers rolled up their sleeves and pumped the coffee grinder, the central winch which sets the position of the mainsail. It was a day of turns and transitions. François Gabart (Macif), Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) and Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM) were hard at work tacking and gybing. For the duelling duo at the front two, it was a classic tack as they head upwind homewards from port to starboard. François Gabart (Macif) was first followed seven hours later by Banque Populaire. This transition will widen the gap between the two front boats as Gabart accelerates away, Le Cléac’h has not given up the fight. His objective, ‘to be finish better on second’ firmly in his mind he thinks that North Atlantic will present opportunities for him to regain his lost ground.

Next to tack is Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) who is sailing on port tack. The move to starboard tack will ensure him a better course. He will be keen to take back his podium slot that the Brit has snatched from under his nose.

If the rest of the fleet had a day of fairly stable sailing, this was certainly not the case for Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM) who was forced to gybe twice in less than four hours; a difficult task, which certainly would have worn him out. His plans must be to drink, to eat and to rest after such an effort.

After sailing between the mainland and the Falkland Islands, Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) elected to sail from the south to the east of the islands and encountered very light conditions slowing him down. This choice has allowed Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) and Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered) sailing a different course, and currently fighting for eighth place in sight of each other, to bear down on his seventh position. This morning Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) who while he was sleeping last night had a problem with his autopilot, is nine miles from Bubi. Mirabaud has a lead of 62 miles over the two men. It could be that this gap will close a little throughout the day. It will not be until they turn north and leave the Falklands behind them that the outcome will become clear.

Last night, and during their sail to the Falklands, Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) and Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered) sailed within fifteen miles of an iceberg 220 m long.

In the Pacific, Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique) sails along the same latitude as Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) although South America sits between them.

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) is 290 miles south of Rio and is on the latitude, between François Gabart and Armel Le Vendee Globe website

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