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Vendee Globe - The big slow

The last 24 hours have been the slowest yet during this Vendee Globe solo round the world race.D38 : Alex Thomson is doing his own race... by VendeeGlobeTV

Alex Thomson sailed less than 200 miles in the 24 hours to 04:00hrs UTC Thursday morning.

With speeds as low as two or three knots at times, he struggles to cross the light winds of a high pressure zone in the Furious Fifties.

Armel Le Cleac'h has gained again from his more southerly position. Although he has been slowed as well.

Le Cleac'h is over 300 miles ahead of the Hugo Boss skipper this morning.

The two Vendée Globe solo round the world leaders should be at Cape Horn at Christmas.

But Thomson is faced with probability of sailing on his unfavoured port tack for almost all of the remaining 3000 miles to the legendary ‘corner’.

Once at Cape Horn they will turn left to climb back up the Atlantic, Thomson is rather hoping for an early Christmas present.

The harsh reality is that he will likely have to wait until Rio before he can spend any sustained period on his favoured gybe.

Thomson said in his lunch time call.

“Armel is a long way away from me right now. In terms of real distance he is 270 miles away. I am not really racing him. I am racing myself and trying to make the boat go as fast as possible."

For the leading duo in the high pressure which is between two big low pressure systems, one at Cape Horn and one under New Zealand, the Pacific looks like remaining calm for the coming days with no big lows.

JP Dick through the Bass Strait - Click image for a larger image

In third place at 900 miles behind Thomson, Paul Meilhat (SMA) and Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ) are in an intermediate zone after Auckland Island with just fifteen knots of wind.

Jean Pierre Dick emerged from the Bass Strait yesterday after detouring to miss the worst of a violent Southern Ocean storm.

Rivals Yann Eliès and Jean Le Cam stayed further south and bore the brunt of some seriously big seas and winds, winds to 60 kts and an unruly breaking swell of nearly eight metres at times.

Dick has dropped a place to Le Cam but was back at full charge, angled back to the south east.

LEADING POSITIONS at 15:00 hrs UTC Thursday:

1. Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII - DTG 9,718 nm - sailing at 14 knots
2. Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss - DTL 333 nm - sailing at 13 knots
3. Paul Meilhat on SMA - DTL 1168 nm
4. Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq - DTL 1180 nm
5. Yann Elies on Quigunnier - DTL 2213 nm
6. Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent - DTL 2258 nm
7. Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac - DTL 2375 nm
8. Thomas Ruyant on Le Souffle du Nord - DTL 2815 nm

Fleet spread is now 6,714 nm back to Sebastien Destremau in 22nd.

Seven have now retired from the race.

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