High speed sailing to Amsterdam for Vendee leaders

Holder of two 24 hours speed records Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec) has been the quickest Vendee Globe sailor through the night, averaging 22.6kts as they head for the Amsterdam ice gate and making 30 miles up on leader, Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire), whilst François Gabart (Macif) remains the thorn in Armel Le Cléach's side, constantly harrying, chasing, hunting down the leader. Gabart, on fire at 23kts instantaneous speed, reduced his own margin to first by nine miles during last night and is just 23 nm behind Le Cléac’h. Somewhat remarkably the 24 hrs runs for Dick and Gabart differ by just one tenth of a nautical mile at 482.4 and 482.3 miles respectively.Day 30 highlights - Sunday, December 9, 2012
Vendee Globe - Top Ten Rankings Monday 10 December 2012, 04:00 hrs (UK)
1. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Clac'h
2. Macif, François Gabart, 23 nm to the leader
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick 88 nm
4. Cheminées Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm 114 nm
5. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 123 nm
6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 496 nm
8. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 509 nm
7. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 577 nm
9. Acciona 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sansó, 1357 nm
10. AKENA Vérandas, Arnaud Boissières, 1692 nm

Now separated from the leading duo by over 85+ miles, Dick, Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) jostle for position. Thomson has taken a slightly more northerly route, looking to partially protect himself medium term, from a high pressure which will develop from the south , but Dick – who has accumulated more Southern Ocean miles than any of his rivals over recent years – has been consistently the quickest. The British skipper who was third last night has lost 42 miles to Virbac-Paprec 3 and is dropped to fifth again this morning.

Mike Golding (Gamesa) has staved off Sunday’s attack from Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel), again opening a little daylight on his French rival, but the trio Golding, Le Cam and Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) might expect the easy miles they have been offered these last few days to be halted by a small ridge of high pressure which they will have to negotiate today.

With just over 460 miles to the Amsterdam gate the leaders should reach the course’s third safety gate Tuesday morning.

Meantime Samantha Davies, aboard her jury rigged Savéol enjoyed a warm Sunday afternoon welcome back to Les Sables d’Olonne. It was an emotional final full stop to her Vendée Globe adventure. The popular female skipper was dismasted on 15th November but has sailed back to the race start via Madeira where she and her team set a first jury and then from Cascais by Lisbon, Portugal. She followed Jérémie Béyou on Maitre Coq – who retired with a keel head issue – back into the channel this afternoon.