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Vendee Globe - It’s brutal. Absolutely brutal

There seems to be no immediate respite for the two skippers leading the Vendée Globe, Alex Thomson and Armel Le Cléac’h.

British skipper Alex Thomson pulled no punches in his powerful, succinct description of his battle to get clear of a tough depression to the South of New Zealand.

Battling 35-45 knot winds, gusts over 50, and huge seas, Thomson speaks of how Hugo Boss is crashing from 30-knot surfs to a sudden, jarring halt as it ploughs into yet another wave trough.

On a course which is now 100 miles to the north of Vendée Globe race leader Armel Le Cléac’h and about 170 miles behind, Thomson expects the buffeting to reduce later today.

He looks set to pass to the north of Auckland Island, one of the two final islands before nearly 5,000 miles of lonely, hostile seas to be crossed to Cape Horn.

Le Cléac’h had been slowed to around 15 knots early this morning, Thomson still making around 19.

This has given Thomson a chance to pull back 50 nm since Saturday.

LEADING POSITIONS at 09:00 hrs UTC Sunday:

1. Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII - DTG 11,026 nm - sailing at 15 knots
2. Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss - DTL 133 nm - sailing at 19 knots
3. Paul Meilhat on SMA - DTL 1425 nm
4. Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq - DTL 1533 nm
5. Yann Elies on Quigunnier - DTL 1943 nm
6. Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac - DTL 2055 nm
7. Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent - DTL 2333 nm
8. Thomas Ruyant on Le Souffle du Nord - DTL 2978 nm

Fleet spread is now 6,694 nm back to Sebastien Destremau in 22nd.

Seven have now retired from the race.

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