The Vendee Globe leaderboard at 08:00hrs puts Francois Gabart (MACIF) 12.6 miles ahead of Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire), but that is only half the story. There was only 1.4 miles in it overnight and this morning Le Cléac’h, further north, crossed the New Zealand gate and immediately gybed south. Gabart will do the same shortly.
The slalom effect of the gates continues to be obvious. Third-placed Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) has kept pace in third, 562 miles behind and should cross the Dateline on Saturday night.
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Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) may have power problems, but he is not underpowered in the sailing department. He was the fastest boat overnight, averaging 18.4 knots. Just south of him as they race south of the Auckland Islands, Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) could only make 15.9 knots. But both have a difficult day ahead as the pass the Campbell Plateau that so shook the leaders. Thomson continued to find the best speed in the fleet this morning and is 37 miles ahead of Stamm.
Mike Golding (Gamesa) faces a race this morning not to get entangled in the bubble of high pressure south of Tasmania and watch Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) sail away. Golding was not alone in scratching his head as to why Le Cam dived south 36 hours ago. It may be clearer this morning, but in his morning message Golding, who averaged 15 knots to Le Cam’s 16.knots in 18-20 knots of NW wind, was confident he would also escape with Le Cam.
Le Cam, 1,755 miles behind the leaders, passed the East Australia gate yesterday evening and is best placed to catch the strong more northerly wind ahead of them. Golding is 195 miles and about ten hours behind him. Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) is south of Golding but another 76 miles behind.
Vendee Globe - Top Ten Rankings Saturday 22 December 2012, 09:00 hrs (UK)
1. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Clac'h
2. Macif, François Gabart, 12.6 nm to the leader
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick 562 nm
4. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 876 nm
5. Cheminées Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm, 913 nm
6. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 1755 nm
7. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 1949 nm
8. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 2025 nm
9. Acciona 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sansó, 2119 nm
10. AKENA Vérandas, Arnaud Boissières, 2879 nm
22 December 2012 10:03 GMT