The Vendee Globe continues at breakneck pace to the Cape of Good Hope. The leading trio have a 200+ mile buffer on Morgan Lagraviere in fourth.
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Leader Alex Thomson was this morning bearing down on the Cape of Good Hope, the next major milestone in the solo non-stop round the world race.
Thomson's Hugo Boss is expected to pass 18.4740° E, the longitude of the famous cape on the tip of South Africa, at around 19:00 UTC Thursday, marking the beginning of the next stage of the race – the Southern Ocean.
Thomson will have completed the passage from Les Sables d'Olonne to the Cape of Good Hope at record-breaking pace in just over 18 days.
If Thomson passes the Cape of Good Hope at the time expected he will have averaged 15.9 knots since the beginning of the race – the same speed that the 120ft maxi catamaran Orange II achieved on the same passage in 2002, but with a crew of 13.
Paul Meilhat now lies 730 miles behind Thomson. Despite trailing by 1,102 nm Yann Eliès is still in touch with the front pack in 8th place and sailing at 16 knots.
Thomas Ruyant on Le Souffle du Nord is sailing at 10 knots, but 11th placed Louis Burton on Bureau Vallee is still at 6 knots and behind him they still struggle to break out of the doldrums.
LEADING POSITIONS at 12:00 hrs Thursday:
1. Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss - DTG 17,579 nm - sailing at 18 knots
2. Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII - DTL 103 nm
3. Sebastien Josse on Edmond de Rothchild - DTL 238 nm
4. Morgan Lagraviere on Safran - DTL 448 nm
5. Paul Meilhat on SMA - DTL 730 nm
6. Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq - DTL 831 nm
7. Yann Elies on Quigunnier - DTL 1102 nm
8. Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent - DTL 1852 nm
9. Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac - DTL 1861 nm
10. Thomas Ruyant on Le Souffle du Nord - DTL 1970 nm
Fleet spread is now 3,621 nm back to Didac Costa in 26th.
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24 November 2016 5:57 GMT