Offshore

Armel Le Cléac'h extends lead by 33 nm

 
Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) was the fourth skipper to pass the Cape of Good Hope and is making good progress at the latest ranking with a speed of 18 knots. Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) gained himself a new record for the fastest Open 60 from Les Sables d’Olonne to the Cape of Good Hope, clocking a time of 22 days 23 hours 48 minutes, and leads by 33 nm from Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3).Vendee Globe - Top Ten Rankings Tuesday 4 December 2012, 04:00 hrs (UK)1. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Clac'h 2. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick 33 nm to the leader3. MACIF, Francois Gabart, 56 nm 4. Cheminées Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm 69 nm5. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 184 nm6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 480 nm7. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 522 nm8. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 548 nm9. Acciona 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sansó, 1045 nm10. AKENA Vérandas, Arnaud Boissières 1575 nm

It was not an easy night for the Vendée Globe skippers. The agitated sea bashed the boats and forced the determined navigators to make constant sail changes. Those at the back are moving again. They appear to have been released from the chains of the St Helena High and the senior trio, Mike Golding (Gamesa) Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel), and Dominique Wavre’s (Mirabaud) passed through the first gate at Aiguilles.

The next hurdle to overcome is which route to choose when negotiating the quickest path through the wallowing high, which blocks their road to the gate of Crozet. They have two options available to them; the short cut around the western edge of the high and then dive into the south, or make an attempt to circumvent the high on the south side, the longer distance but with stronger winds and then join it the eastern edge gate. By the first option they run risk of being trapped in the high and with the second, the software depicts a busy road south, traversing through a minefield of icebergs located between Heard Island and the Crozet Archipelago. Decisions, decisions.

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) reported: "All good onboard apart from my hydro again. I got the damaged one working in the end and now it is the port hydro that is giving me grief. I am getting pretty annoyed with it now and will take the opportunity of a slight slow down today to get it working again properly. Last night I had to charge using the main engine and used up more of precious fuel onboard, there was a benefit in that the cabin was warm all night!"

"At the moment, the rich are getting richer, the guys ahead are extending as I am from the guys behind. Once we all get into the same weather we will go the same speed until the 7th when the leaders and I will run into a high pressure, slow up and the fleet will compress again. It is like we are attached by a piece of bungy!"