Thomson passes ice gate and is back up to speed

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) passed through the Amsterdam ice gate at midday Tuesday making 21 kts, at almost exactly the same time as rival Stamm did some 50 miles to his east, the pair setting off on a fast SE’ly course making for the fourth gate, some 1100 miles ahead of them.The British skipper’s team confirmed today that the repair to the rudder tie bar had taken around fifteen hours in total. Although he had already made the same type of composite repair in the Atlantic to rectify a similar problem which had afflicted the opposite rudder, this time the work was more complicated and had to be completed in much more testing weather and sea conditions. The accident has damaged one of his hydrogenerators beyond repair.

Now relying on a limited supply of diesel and the one remaining hydrogenerator, Thomson will be in very strict energy saving mode – running what his team call ‘dark mode’ – which means very reduced communication with the outside world.

With some 1500 miles remaining for the leaders to Cape Leeuwin, the pace for passage of the Indian Ocean remains close to the same as 2008-9, likely to be around 11.5 days on this course which is longer due to the ice gates that are set more to the north than in the last edition.

Vendee Globe - Top Ten Rankings Tuesday 11 December 2012, 19:00 hrs (UK)
1. Macif, François Gabart
2. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Clac'h, 14 nm to the leader
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick 90 nm
4. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 178 nm
5. Cheminées Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm, 193 nm
6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 738 nm
8. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 755 nm
7. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 944 nm
9. Acciona 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sansó, 1610 nm
10. AKENA Vérandas, Arnaud Boissières, 2051 nm