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Vendee Globe Race - Record-shattering finish at hand

by Vendee Globe on 27 Jan 2013
Francois Gabart (Macif) is expected to win the Vendee Globe Race 2012-2013 © Alexis Courcoux / Macif
Vendee Globe Race 2012-2013. Sunday, January 27, 2013, the world of sailing and yacht racing is preparing for a historic moment. For the first time, two men solo, nonstop and without assistance, will sail around the world in less than 80 days. The legendary duel between François Gabart (Macif) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) which has raged unabated since the 10th November will finally be concluded.

What sprint! After less than 78 days at sea, François Gabart (Macif) is expected to arrive at the finish line is Les Sables d'Olonne, around 09.30 GMT, a world record breaking race, sailed at breakneck pace. The last 24 hours is no exception as François Gabart (Macif) puts his foot down in south-westerly wind of 30 knots and has covered 450 miles in the last 24 hours, averaging 18.5 knots.

93 miles behind, Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) is even faster, reaching a top speed of 20 knots and covering 460 miles. It’s fast to the last.

The two men will soon enter another world; parties, media requests, emotional reunions, the ground solid under foot and more importantly steak and chips, for Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) at least. François Gabart’s (Macif) first meal on land is yet to be revealed.

Third Place

North of the Azores, Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) in third place is around 1150 miles from Les Sables d'Olonne miles this morning. He is expected to arrive Tuesday evening.

Now 5 days without a keel, Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) remains south of the Azores. He gybed during the night and is heading east in a light wind of 15 knots. He will soon decide if he will continue until the end.
Gentle tradewinds

The race is far from over for those behind. Back in the northern hemisphere after a frustrating and complicated South Atlantic, Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) 2,680 miles away from the finish line in Les Sables d'Olonne, in a stable trade winds northeast 20 knots and 80 miles ahead of Mike Golding (Gamesa). Switzerland's Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) also comes back into the flow and starts to accelerate. The day is, however, much harder for Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) who crossed the equator at 0313 GMT after 77 days and 14 hours of racing. Currently in an east wind of 10-15 knots, he is about to enter the Doldrums. Still 150 miles from the line of demarcation between the two hemispheres, the Spaniard Javier Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered) navigates through a shifty crosswind, in a flow of 15 knots and he should cross this afternoon.



Varied rhythms at the back

Behind Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM) in a wind of 15 knots, manages to keep a good pace while Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur) is still hampered by a light north wind of only 10 knots. He shows the lowest increase in the last 24 hours covering only 130 miles. Becalmed, he went for a swim in shark infested waters. For Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique) it is quite the opposite. He is being battered by a north wind blowing 30 knots. Soon the sky will clear and the wind will shift to the south. Even if the sailing conditions improve, the loss of his gennaker, and the small and large spinnaker will slow down the progression of the happy go lucky Vendee Globe Race

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