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Vendee Globe - Le Cleac'h closes on Thomson

French sailor Armel Le Cléac'h continues to gain on Vendée Globe leader Alex Thomson.

Leading Positions at 18:00 hrs Friday- Click image for a larger image

Le Cléac'h now to sits less than 30 nm off the top spot as the pair continue their dual into the Indian Ocean.

Thursday Thomson's Hugo Boss was the most southerly boat in the fleet, however Friday the positions for the leading trio have inverted with Thomson now 50 nm to the north of Le Cléac'h as they gamble on the best route to pick up an Indian Ocean depression.

Speeds are still high among the frontrunners but at the 18:00 UTC position report Thomson and Le Cléac'h were both now making 18 knots, but Le Cléac'h had closed the gap again.

These two are sailing faster than the pack, a 5 knot advantage.

Josse's Edmond de Rothschild crossed the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope at 00:44 UTC this morning, almost 14 hours behind Thomson, making him the third skipper to leave the South Atlantic.

Thomson knows that he will be under pressure while sailing accross the Indian and Southern Oceans before the fleet reach Cape Horn, where he will be able to switch to his undamaged foil.

He believes that when on his good foil, on starboard tack, he has a significant speed advantage, and if he can minimise any loss before reaching Cape Horn, the advantage will swing back to Hugo Boss for the final stages.

Thomson set another record on Thursday. A tIme to the Cape of Good Hope of 17 days 22 hrs 58 mins, smashing the previous record by over five days.

LEADING POSITIONS at 22:00 hrs UTC Friday:

1. Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss - DTG 17,057 nm - sailing at 22 knots
2. Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII - DTL 31 nm
3. Sebastien Josse on Edmond de Rothchild - DTL 329 nm
4. Paul Meilhat on SMA - DTL 969 nm
5. Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq - DTL 1004 nm
6. Yann Elies on Quigunnier - DTL 1252 nm
7. Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac - DTL 1813 nm
8. Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent - DTL 1852 nm
9. Thomas Ruyant on Le Souffle du Nord - DTL 1911 nm

Fleet spread is now 3,772 nm back to Didac Costa in 25th.

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Gerald New - Sailweb
25 November 2016 8:40 GMT


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