After closing to within 28 nm of Vendee Globe leader Armel Le Cléac’h, Alex Thomson has dropped back as Le Cleac'h finally broke clear, accelerating to 11 knots in a light breeze.
Armel Le Cléac’h - Click image for a larger image
Thompson, on Hugo Boss, had overturned an 800 nm deficit and was within 28.6 nm of the Frenchman at the 05:00 check Friday morning.
But by the next check at 09:00 the gap had opened to 55 nm and his speed had dropped to 5 knots, while Le Cleac'h on Banque Populaire VIII was sailing at 11 knots in a light easterly breeze.
There are 600 testing, head scratching miles ahead of the leaders to Cabo Frio - by Rio - where the breezes appear to strengthen and become more consistent.
Who comes out of this ahead could decide the race.
Irishman, Enda O’Coineen is about to arrive on Stewart Island and may moor in the same bay as Yves Parlier in 2001.
The goal is to carry out a thorough check up of Kilcullen Voyager-Team Ireland and repairs need to be made to her mast track and autopilots.
LEADING POSITIONS at 18:00 hrs UTC Friday:
1. Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII - DTG 5,014 nm - sailing at 5 knots
2. Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss - DTL 132 nm - sailing at 6 knots
3. Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq - DTL 1127 nm
4. Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac - DTL 1867 nm
5. Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent - DTL 1989 nm
6. Yann Elies on Quigunnier - DTL 2011 nm
7. Louis Burton on Bureau Vallee - DTL 3233 nm
Fleet spread is now 8,041 nm back to Pieter Heerama in 19th.
Ten have now retired from the race.
30 December 2016 8:34 GMT