Armel Le Cléac'h on Banque Populaire VIII is likely be the first to sail in the Easterly trade winds, and could therefore increase his lead over Alex Thomson during the next 24 hours.
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To get to the South east trade winds, it is necessary to sail upwind off Rio before easing away towards Les Sables d’Olonne.
Le Cléac'h has stretched his lead Tuesday to 190 nm (216 nm Weds morning) and should not need to tack any more.
His current course allows him to lay Recife (Brazil) on one tack. He will then be sailing towards the Equator and gaining distance Wednesday morning.
While Thomson will probably have to tack once or twice more before he can sail in the Easterly flow.
The distance between the two leaders should thus increase until Banque Populaire stops again in the doldrums or around the Azores High.
Also, third placed Jérémie Beyou is reducing the gap to the leaders. He is sailing a direct route in a stronger South easterly wind.
LEADING POSITIONS at 12:00 hrs UTC Wednesday:
1. Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII - DTG 4,133 nm - sailing at 14 knots
2. Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss - DTL 235 nm - sailing at 11 knots
3. Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq - DTL 653 nm - sailing at 10 knots
4. Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac - DTL 1343 nm
5. Yann Elies on Quigunnier - DTL 1409 nm
6. Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent - DTL 1419 nm
7. Louis Burton on Bureau Vallee - DTL 2822 nm
Fleet spread is now 8,282 nm back to Sebastien Destremau in 18th.
Eleven have now retired from the race.
3 January 2017 18:35 GMT