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Vendee Globe - Alex Thomson turns up the pace

A conservative opening to the Vendée Globe by Alex Thomson was the game plan agreed with his team by the British skipper.

The requirement to sail fast thereafter, to try to outrun a predicted drop in wind pressure, was the second and much more crucial requirement over the first 48 hours of the 24,020 nautical miles solo race around the world.

The Hugo Boss skipper has played out the agreed strategy, unleashing some impressive speeds during the early hours of the morning to lead the fleet past Cape Finisterre on the rugged NW corner of Spain around midday Monday.

Hugo Boss was in close company with pre-race favourite Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII.

The duo were racing less than half a mile apart during the middle of this afternoon, within sight of each other as the breeze started to ease slightly.

Only Vincent Riou on the classically configured, but highly optimised PRB has been able to stay the pace with the leaders.

By the Monday afternoon ranking Riou was 13 miles behind Hugo Boss and slightly slower, but still slightly ahead of Edmond de Rothschild’s Sébastien Josse.

The fleet leaders are expected to be slowed to around 7-9kts by the descending high pressure ridge Tuesday.

But when they escape they should have fast trade winds on the autoroute south.

LEADING POSITIONS at 13:00 hrs Monday:

1. Alex Thomon on Hugo Boss - DTG 23797 nm
2. Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac - DTL 6 nm
3. Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII - DTL 8 nm
4. Vincent Riou on PRB - DTL 25 nm
5. Sebastien Josse on Edmond de Rothchild - 26 nm

Fleet spread is now 229 nm back to Sebastien Destremau.

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