by Vendee Globe
In the Vendee Globe, the tallest skipper in the fleet - Jean Pierre Dick, has leapt into second place from fourth overtaking the golden boy, François Gabart, (Macif) during the night. Since the start he has maintained that he has two priorities, to keep the boat moving and to sleep. Covering 340 miles, doing and average of 14 knots, and flashing an impressive 17 knots this morning, Dick has his foot on the gas. With only 50.6 miles between him and the race leader, Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) he is certainly taking things in his stride.
Virbac Paprec 3 - 2012 Vendee Globe
All of the 16 boats remaining in this edition of the Vendée Globe 2102 are now clear of the Doldrums, the area of the Atlantic that is impacted by the inter-tropical convergence zone. This fickle hurdle is tricky to negotiate and the skippers will be pleased to leave them astern and be looking forward at battling through the Roaring Forties as they head south into the icy grip of the Southern Ocean.
Vincent Riou onboard PRB continues to assess the damage to the boat that he loves. Progressing slowly at 250º (southwest), 300 miles from the Brazilian coast. He is searching for the best solution. The repair will take time and is very complicated, particularly the broken outrigger. The question on everyone’s mind is will he or won’t he rejoin the race. Riou is fierce competitor and from the outset has been in it to win it. Even if he could affect the repairs would he be willing to limp around the course like an injured horse? Only time will tell.
Last night, François Gabart (Macif) was overtaken on the outside by Jean Pierre Dick. 'The sea has flattened. The boat glides gently alone. It does not beat speed records, of course, but the feeling of gliding gently is so nice. If only we could have these conditions all night ... ' confided the poetic skipper.
Ahead Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) clutches onto his lead but with only 50.6 miles between him and Jean Pierre Dick and 51.1miles from Gabart the hungry racers are breathing down his neck.
At the rear of the fleet, in the northern hemisphere, 225 miles from the equator, the sea gardener, Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique) has finally extricated himself from the clutches of the intertropical convergence zone. He and the only fixed keel monohull, Team Plastique are still more than a day's sail from the equator 225 miles away.
Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) meanwhile seemed regain some speed. Perhaps it’s a sign that he has come to the end of his technical problems. The same goes for Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) who this morning demonstrated significant gains in the last 24 hours of 312 miles, reducing his distance to the leader, by 125 miles.
Behind the trio of Mike Golding (Gamesa), Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) and Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) are finally heading southeast and making good progress. Jean Le Cam is bearing down on Golding’s steady pace, while Wavre seems to be dropping back slightly. Last night, Javier Sanso (EcoPowered Acciona 100%) and Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives-core) entered the South Atlantic gaining speed as they slip into the trade winds. Further west, after a very difficult doldrums crossing, Arnaud Boissières (Akena Verandas) and Bertrand de Broc (Autour du Monde with EDM Projects) moved into double figures speedwise as they push harder towards the south. With a wind shift to the west, Bertrand de Broc is expected to pass the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha islands, less than a hundred miles away.
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