Thomson takes the westerly passage

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) continued to chip away at the lead of the three in front, his more westerly passage to the equator and through the doldrums (probably starting on Friday afternoon) still looks favourable on paper. Meanwhile Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique) became the 12th and last skipper in this edition of the Vendée Globe to pass Cape Horn at 17:31hrs UTC on Thursday, 17 January.Day 69 highlights

Francois Gabart (MACIF) has edged slightly away from Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) to 106 on Friday morning. With both clear of the doldrums on Thursday morning, Le Cléac’h looks like he has banked almost all of the 200 miles he made up since Monday afternoon. With around ten days to the finish line in Les Sables, the last big hurdle for them to negotiate is the Azores high.

Sixth-placed Mike Golding (Gamesa), who has cut Le Cam’s lead to 23 miles, half-laughed after saying: “We’re in trade winds and the wind is blowing is perfectly out of where we want to go.”

Vendee Globe - Top Ten Rankings Friday, 18 January 2013, 06:00 hrs (UK)
1. Macif, François Gabart
2. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Clac'h, 106 nm to the leader
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick 409 nm
4. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 646 nm
5. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 2126 nm
6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 2149 nm
7. Acciona 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sansó, 2304 nm
8. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 23702 nm
9. AKENA Vérandas, Arnaud Boissières, 2438 nm
10. Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM Projets, Bertrand de Broc, 3549 nm