Thompson hangs on as chasing pack close-up

Armel Le Clac'h, Banque Populaire, holds his lead, now 131 nm ahead of Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss. The big gains were behind Thompson, where Jean-Pierre Dick, Virbac Paprec 3, pulled back 130 nm into third place overtaking both Francois Gabart, Macif and Bernard Stamm, Cheminées Poujoulat, both around 180 nm from the leader. Mike Golding, Gamesa, keeps his seventh place and pulled back 80 nm on Le Clac'h.

Alex Thompson on Hugo Boss

Vendee Globe - Top Ten Rankings Thursday 29 November 2012, 11:00 hrs (UK)
1. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Clac'h
2. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 131 nm to the leader
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick, 180 nm
4. MACIF, Francois Gabart, 184 nm
5. Cheminées Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm 189 nm
6. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 285 nm
7. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 317 nm
8. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 353 nm
9. Acciona 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sansó, 579 nm
10. AKENA Vérandas, Arnaud Boissières 738 nm

Alex Thomson: The weather files say that it should be more stable from now on, I really hope so as I cannot afford another slow patch as the guys to the west are making 3-4 miles per hour on me.

If I don’t have any more slow patches tonight I may hold on to 2nd place for much of today but at some point I will relinquish that position to Virbac and then another to Macif. There is nothing I can do, the cards have been dealt and although I knew this when I climbed into the 2nd place I have now got used to it and don’t want to give it up!

The saving grace for me over the last few days has been the wind angle. I have been sailing much tighter wind angles than the guys to the west which in the lighter winds has meant I have been able to get the best possible speed from the boat for that wind angle. Hugo Boss is also performing well and exceeding the polars (best theoretical speeds) all of the time. This is helped by the flat water and maybe by the long ocean swell which is coming at us from the south west.

In a little under 2 days a weather front will cross the fleet and the wind will go from the north to the south west. The fleet will gybe and continue to the ice gate and be followed by a ridge of high pressure which will probably slow most of us down. Fortunately this does not look like it will last long and we should pass the ice gate on the morning of the 2nd Dec. Then the routing takes us great circle to the next ice gate and worryingly close to a reported ice berg 500 miles south east of the first ice gate. I don’t fancy seeing any ice!

G New
29 November 2012 12:45 GMT