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Vendee Globe - Neck and Neck accross the Indian Ocean

Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss is back in the lead, but for how long? Just 2.4 nm separates Thomson and Armel Le Cléac’h.Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent -

There are 16,950 nm still to sail, but for the two leaders this is now a boat-on-boat situation as they gybe across the Indian Ocean.

They have opened a 400 nm gap on Sebastien Josse on Edmond de Rothchild and a further 370 nm to Paul Meilhat on SMA and Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq.

All the leading boats are capable of logging over 480 miles per day (average speed of 20 knots).

Pius from Monday we can expect that the 25-30 knots NW’ly will catch up with the front of the fleet and carry them at speed towards Kerguelen (mid-way to Australia).

Situation 12:00 hrs Sunday 27 Nov - Click image for a larger image

At that point, the leaders will have to choose between a narrow corridor of around thirty miles between the south of the main island and the ice exclusion zone or take the passage to the north.

The decision is sure to be influenced by the arrival of a tropical low from Madagascar on Wednesday, to the NW of the archipelago.

If the leaders manage to catch hold of its tail, they could be approaching Cape Leeuwin (Australia) from next weekend.

As for the Hugo Boss foil, in the absence of photos detailing the extent of the damage, we remain in a state of uncertainty.

Either it is has broken off definitively level with the hull or it has broken off at the elbow of the curve where the tip joins the shaft, which could result in excessive stresses during the descent in the Roaring Forties.

LEADING POSITIONS at 12:00 hrs UTC Sunday:

1. Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss - DTG 16,590 nm - sailing at 18 knots
2. Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII - DTL 2.4 nm - sailing at 20 knots
3. Sebastien Josse on Edmond de Rothchild - DTL 410 nm
4. Paul Meilhat on SMA - DTL 784 nm
5. Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq - DTL 786 nm
6. Yann Elies on Quigunnier - DTL 1077 nm
7. Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac - DTL 1662 nm
8. Thomas Ruyant on Le Souffle du Nord - DTL 1764 nm
9. Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent - DTL 1823 nm

Fleet spread is now 3,936 nm back to Didac Costa in 25th.

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