British skipper Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss, who has led the IMOCA fleet since the first morning, is now more than 80 miles ahead of second-placed Paul Meilhat on SMA after taking a route 150 miles to the west of his rivals.
Traditionally ‘west is best’ in transatlantic races and Thomson, on his first attempt at the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe should continue to profit from a faster wind angle as far as the lighter winds zone of the Azores high which is impeding the progress of the leading ULTIMEs.
The battle at the front of the ULTIMES continues to be an absorbing affair between pace-setter François Gabart on MACIF and Francis Joyon still on his tail in IDEC Sport.
Gabart has revealed that he has incurred some damage to his mainsail battens but otherwise his passage into the northeast trade winds is unhindered and he should be into them by tomorrow.
The Multi50 battle is equally interesting. Thibaut Vauchel-Camus on Solidaires En Peloton-Arsep is the current leader on the Tracker, but he is 350 miles north of Armel Tripon on Réauté Chocolat.
There are 35 Class40s still out on the race track, with the lead is still being held by Frenchman Yoann Richomme on Veedol AIC, with second Aymeric Chappellier on
Aina Enfrance & Avenir.
Britain’s Phil Sharp in third place on Imerys Clean Energy commented;
“My gut feeling is to get south. Not just because it is warmer and sunnier and really nice, but because I don’t think it is going to work up north and it is looking like anti-cyclonic conditions will resume so yes, that is why I am going south.”
Jack Trigger on Concise 8 is in 10th place, Miranda Merron on Campagne de France is 13th.
Sam Davies has officially retired from the Route du Rhum after delamination damage on her IMOCA, Initiatives Coeur yesterday.
“I could maybe have gone on if the delamination was somewhere else but it is right in my living area, where all the electrics are,” said Sam.
After his capsize in the maxi-tri Banque Populaire IX on Wednesday, French sailor Armel Le Cléac’h, who is in good health, is on his way to Spain in a fishing boat which came to rescue him.