British yachtsman Alex Thomson and his Australian co-skipper Andrew Cape have moved into second place on day 34 of the Barcelona World Race. A technical problem on the French boat Veolia Environnement, which has forced it to divert to the Kerguelen Islands, has allowed HUGO BOSS to move up the leader board.
Thomson and Cape now have their sights firmly set on current race leader Virbac Paprec, which was 245 nautical miles ahead at 14:00 GMT today.
The fleet is currently battling through the Southern Ocean, where the boats have endured some destructive conditions. Three competitors have already retired from the race; French boats PRB and Delta Dore with broken masts, and Spanish entry Estrella Damm with a broken rudder.
After breaking the world distance record last week, Thomson and Cape have taken the strain off Hugo Boss for the last few days to preserve the boat in the treacherous conditions of the Furious Fifties. The yachts will soon turn north to pass through a mandatory race gate, where the conditions will be lighter and the boats can get back to full throttle.
'It is unfortunate that we have gained second position in this way. The skipper of Veolia Environnement, Roland ‘Bilou’ Jourdain, is a very good friend of mine and I was enjoying racing him. Hopefully Bilou and his co-skipper Jean-Luc Nélias will be able to resolve their problems quickly and get back into the race. In the meantime we will maintain our focus on preserving the boat and look forward to heading north into warmer climes.'
The fleet will spend the next week or so in the Southern Ocean before passing through the Cook Straits between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The boats will then head south-east to Cape Horn and finally north up the Atlantic to the finish in Barcelona. The 25,000 mile course should take three months to complete, finishing in February 2008. Classification - DTL Updated:16:00 - 14 Dec
1 Paprec Virbac 2 NA
2 Hugo Boss + 245
3 Veolia Environnement + 373
4 Temenos 2 + 1123
5 Mutua Madrileña + 1873
6 Educación Sin Fronteras + 2520
RET Estrella Damm + NA
RET Delta Dore + NA
RET PRB + NA