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Vendee Globe - Sebastien Josse drops back with rudder damage

Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss is still holding Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire at bay with a 102 nm lead Wednesday morning, while Sebastien Josse drops back after rudder damage.Positions at 17:00 hrs Tuesday -

In an overnight change, Sebastien Josse has dropped to third and is sailing at just 11 knots and is 67 nm behind Armel Le Cléac’h, who like Thomson is sailing at 21 knots.

Josse had a lucky escape last night after hitting a submerged object causing damage to one of the rudders on his IMOCA Edmond de Rothschild.

Josse was in 25 to 30 knots of breeze sailing south east at around 2230 UTC yesterday when his starboard rudder kicked up having hit something in the water.

He was able to repair the damage, but it tooknt more than four hours fixing the rudder system before being able to resume racing, and by that point he had lost around 60 miles.

Morgan Lagraviere on Safran is now in fourth and the next major split is at Yann Elies on Quigunnier, who is 1000 nm off the leader and 640 nm ahead of Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent.

The fleet after Yann Elies are struggling at 8 to 10 knots, compared with the 20+ knots of the leading trio.

Mike Golding commented on Thomson's situation:

"I've been following what's been going on with Alex [Thomson] and his broken foil, and it's interesting to see that he was able to extend slightly on the boats behind him."

"But of course he's sagging off the south and must be getting near the virtual ice gate, and that's a problem because being south will always tend to make you look like you're closer to the finish but at some point of course he's got to get onto the other foil.”

"I feel very sorry for him because Hugo Boss was a standout team at the start of the race and I felt Alex was in a strong position to win the race."

"It must be hugely disappointing for him and his team, but I'm fairly sure he's going to keep on delivering over the next few weeks.”

LEADING POSITIONS at 12:00 hrs Wednesday:

1. Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss - DTG 18,006 nm - sailing at 21 knots
2. Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII - DTL 102 nm
3. Sebastien Josse on Edmond de Rothchild - DTL 188 nm
4. Morgan Lagraviere on Safran - DTL 391 nm
5. Paul Meilhat on SMA - DTL 602 nm
6. Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq - DTL 732 nm
7. Yann Elies on Quigunnier - DTL 1030 nm
8. Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac - DTL 1698 nm
9. Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent - DTL 1702 nm
10. Thomas Ruyant on Le Souffle du Nord - DTL 1830 nm

Fleet spread is now 3,190 nm back to Sebastien Destremau in 25th.

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