Le Cléac'h on a charge

Armel Le Cléac'h and his Banque Populaire monohull crossed the limit between the southern and the northern hemispheres at 4.47 am. When he crossed the Equator, his Vendee Globe race time was 66 days, 16 hours, 45 minutes and 51 seconds, 15 hours and 6 minutes behind François Gabart (Macif).Vendee Globe - Top Ten Rankings Wednesday, 16 January 2013, 11:00 hrs (UK)1. Macif, François Gabart2. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Clac'h, 107 nm to the leader3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick 542 nm4. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 849 nm5. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 2005 nm6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 2083 nm7. Acciona 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sansó, 2290 nm8. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 2362 nm9. AKENA Vérandas, Arnaud Boissières, 2405 nm10. Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM Projets, Bertrand de Broc, 3596 nm

Armel Le Clac'h (Banque Populaire) has reclaimed 144 miles in the last 24 hours on race leader François Gabart (Macif) and is now only 107 miles behind, but the leader’s pace has not been dramatically slowed.

Gabart still averaged a comparatively healthy 10.7 knots overnight. The doldrums are not normally particularly active at this time of year and compared to November where the leading group were stalled at one point, the front four may simply compress and then extend on the other side. But that will not be clear for two days.

Despite dropping back to sixth Mike Golding (Gamesa) is very upbeat in his message today. "It had been starting to go as per the weather file which was encouraging, but I am on reefed main and the Solent right now with a bit more wind than I expected and I am getting lifted and so I am very confused. But I am pretty sure this is only temporary."

"I am still happy with where I am. My routing looks OK. I'll go further out this side and then tack and should be off. Jean looks like he will just be sucked closer to the coast. And even if it went horribly wrong on this side, I still have a lot of runway, and this is giving me a bit of space on the boats behind."