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Le Cléac’h takes back Vendee lead

Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire takes back the Vendee Globe lead from Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss.

Armel Le Cléac’h sailing 2 knots faster, caught and passed Thomson to lead the Vendee Globe by 15 nm at the 18:00 hrs check this Saturday.

Thomson made a nine gybe slalom along the ice wall Friday over the course of 12 hours – between 05:00 and 17:00 hrs before converging with his long time pace making rival Armel Le Cléac’h.

They are some 800 miles west of the longitude of Cape Leeuwin and about six days ahead of François Gabart’s 2012-13 record pace.

Jean Pierre Dick (7th placed) gave up eight hours of hard earned miles last night after he unknowingly slipped south into the Antarctic Exclusion Zone Friday evening.

Dick sailed in the exclusion zone for two hours before he made an ‘about turn’ and retraced a reciprocal course to the point where he entered the forbidden zone.

In line with the race rules he was given the opportunity to do this by the race committee.

This prohibited area which is defined by race direction to reduce the risk of Vendée Globe skippers encountering drifting ice.

It appears that the skipper of StMichel-Virbac had not updated the position of the ‘ice wall’ following an update several days ago, required because of ice floating around the Kerguelen Islands.

by VendeeGlobeTV

A French Navy helicopter from the frigate Nivôse, flew over 3rd placed Sébastien Josse - Edmond de Rothschild early Friday morning off the Kerguelens.

LEADING POSITIONS at 18:00 hrs UTC Saturday:

1. Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII - DTG 14,103 nm - sailing at 18 knots
2. Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss - DTL 15 nm - sailing at 16 knots
3. Sebastien Josse on Edmond de Rothchild - DTL 566 nm
4. Paul Meilhat on SMA - DTL 1202 nm
5. Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq - DTL 1233 nm
6. Yann Elies on Quigunnier - DTL 17313 nm
7. Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac - DTL 2018nm
8. Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent - DTL 2148 nm
9. Thomas Ruyant on Le Souffle du Nord - DTL 2278 nm

Fleet spread is now 5,259 nm back to Didac Costa in 25th.

Four have now retired from the race.

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