In the Vendee Globe, Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) torpedoed into second place at the 1500 GMT ranking today. Although he feels it will be short lived, 'Up to second place on the rankings! Will be short lived when Macif and Virbac get the new wind first but happy anyway!'
The jackal, Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) is watching the fleet in his rear view mirror as he accelerates away from them. The chasers are floundering in the fickle conditions in the corridor between the St Helena High and the swirling depression off the coast of Argentina. But the beau Breton is not complacent about his position.
Today, on the daily web TV show Vendée Globe LIVE hosted at the race headquarters at Montparnasse Station, Paris, France he said, 'You cannot be sure of anything. I’m looking at the others. My northern strategy is clear. We’ll see how it goes in a few days. I’ll keep on with this plan. I’m passionate about these strategic moments. We are entering an important moment of the race. It’s very interesting to see how everyone is doing. At the beginning of the VG, it was more a speed race, now it’s becoming strategic.'
So the three dimensional chess game that Mike Golding loves is now on. Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) despite losing ground is hoping that he has made the right call. 'For the moment it’s ok. There is not too much wind. I like my position, I’ll deal with it. But I’m waiting for the wind. I try to remain rational. Sometimes you have to gamble. The strategy I have taken since the Brazilian coast seemed interesting. For the moment it is not very efficient but I think it’ll go well in the coming days,' he said during the web TV show Vendée Globe LIVE.
Mike Golding (Gamesa) is by his own admission is struggling with the high pressure ridge, which is blocking his southerly progression. 'It’s the third Doldrums of the race, it is very frustrating. The wind is up and down and it is pouring with rain. All night it has been like this. I had a steady afternoon yesterday, with 15kts of breeze. Then I had a little stoppage. Then it came back at 15kts, then 15kts from a bad direction, then I stopped again and since then it has been up and down. As I speak it’s just dropped to five knots. It is so up and down, it is hard to rest. It’s hard to see a way out right now, you kind of have to wait until the system moves and evolves. Certainly the wind is not doing what is says on the files.'
The weather models can only serve as a guide as to the conditions a skipper can expect but the only way to be sure of the conditions they are enduring is to go outside and have a look.
Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) despite his second place is enduring his own trials and tribulations and is not holding his breath, 'it was a tough day yesterday and night with lots of cloud activity and variable wind which meant I got hardly any sleep. I have had some issues with the hydro charging so was working on that yesterday as well as some problems with the battery management system which is not alarming properly.'
Behind Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) is Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) is stamping his feet. The inevitably of finishing his onboard husbandry due to damage to his genoa earlier in the race will eventually have to be faced but he is not willing to sacrifice boat speed at this critical time. 'I’m sailing with 8-10 knots wind, it’s a little quite. I try to stay on the same position, even if I didn’t necessarily chose it. There is a lot of up and down wind. I have an average position, which is not good. I’m not very happy with it. I don’t know when I’ll be climbing the mast again. It’s an important day, because behind me they are coming back. I also have to look at the leader group. I don’t want to let them go too far away.' He said today, during the web TV show Vendée Globe LIVE.
Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives cœur) who last night bathed in the light of an almost full moon and ate his supper under the moonlit clouds and stars. 'Yesterday, was the perfect day and night. The sunset was really lovely with a few clouds, with amazing colours and I really enjoyed it. I had some dinner sitting on the back of the boat with the moon on my left. It was bright and gave a lot of light.' Having enjoyed his romantic dinner for one, he is aware that Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas), who has a much faster boat, is breathing down his neck to steal his 10th place. He is resigned to this inevitability 'I don’t have sails as big as these other guys so I know they are faster. I will have to be clever on my choice of heading to be not too far away from them but I don’t have much choice.'
Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas), told his team by phone this morning. 'I am well rested. I fell into a light wind hole and then got going again around 5-6 am. There are things happening ahead, slowing us down. We need to avoid the area so it does stop us. The path should be fairly straight. Admittedly, it does not double but two or four boats you go faster which will perhaps help tighten the gap. It is the goal! Life on board is very nice. In any case it is a pleasure to navigate this moment is indescribable.'
The rear of the fleet, Javier Sanso (Acciona 100% EcoPowered), Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives cœur), Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas) and Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde with EDM) must take advantage of winds to accelerate to the southern hemisphere. Bertrand de Broc is hungry for something more vigorous. 'The South Seas, this is why we came?' he said today, during the web TV show Vendée Globe LIVE It is only matter of time before the fleet arrives into the deep, cavernous reaches of the brutal Southern Ocean.
Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde with EDM): The sailing conditions are rather mild. There is always an east wind with a little sea. I am quite eager to have more consistent navigations. I expect a little more pace, as do all the competitors. Navigation in these winds, is long. The situation is complicated, either east or west. I want to find my rhythm, to become one with my boat and try to go faster because these boats are extraordinary machines.
Vincent Riou (PRB): I sail for two days to Brazil. It is slow, I can reflect, digest slowly. There is a time where we will have to move on. Fortunately I am still busy. I'm already thinking about how to bring the boat into Brazil. I do not know yet if I will be delivering the boat back but I would rather bring it back. But, like many sailors, I have a dual role. It may be that I have obligations that will prevent me from doing the delivery.