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Vendee Globe - Leaders back up to speed for final stage

Alex Thomson reports that Hugo Boss is hitting 25+ knots as he gains on Vendee Globe leader Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire - DTL is now 85 nm.

Thomson was upbeat in his latest video report on Saturday, day 68 of the Vendee.

Sailing on starboard at 20+ knots and expecting that to continue for the next couple of days as he chases down Le Cléac’h.

Le Cléac’h was first to profit from the increased breeze but was not able to gain much distance on Thomson.

The two skippers are off the archipelago of Madeira this Sunday morning.

The Azores are their next target and from there a very long starboard tack is on the cards to reach the latitude of Les Sables d'Olonne.

This drag race is sure to be key as they prepare to enter the dreaded ridge of high pressure and beyond it the final sprint for home across the Bay of Biscay.

Armel Le Cléac’h has been feeling the pressure of the chasing Brit.

“I’ve just got to grit my teeth and focus on the finish,” Le Cleac’h said. “I do feel a little bit anxious about it."

"I have five very complicated days ahead of me and I wish it was a more relaxing scenario."

The current ETA in Les Sables for the Vendée Globe leaders is Thursday 19 January.

LEADING POSITIONS at 22:00 hrs UTC Sunday:

1. Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire - DTG 1,127 nm - sailing at 22 knots
2. Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss - DTL 85 nm - sailing at 22 knots
3. Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq - DTL 746 nm - sailing at 12 knots
4. Jean-Pierre Dick on StMichel-Virbac - DTL 1,270 nm
5. Yann Elies on Quigunnier - DTL 1,570 nm
6. Jean Le Cam on Finistere Mer Vent - DTL 1,579 nm
7. Louis Burton on Bureau Vallee - DTL 2,794 nm

Fleet spread is now 9,166 nm back to Sebastien Destremau in 18th.

Eleven have now retired from the race.

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