Armel Tripon and Alex Thomson should be the next to finish the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. The leaders of the Multi50 and IMOCA fleets are only 115 nautical miles apart.
Multi50 leader Tripon on Réauté Chocolat leads Erwan Le Roux’s FenêtréA-Mix Buffet by a comfortable 420 miles, and IMOCA leader Thomson on Hugo Boss is ahead of Paul Meilhat’s SMA by 175 miles.
The British skipper, who has not yet won a major IMOCA race, has been quicker than his pursuers all night, but was having a slow spell around 06:00 hrs CET Tuesday morning when his IMOCA dropped to 11 knots.
At this mornings update Thompson saw his distance to the finish drop below the magical 1,000 miles to go.
In Class40 Phil Sharp, the British skipper on Imerys Clean Energy who has been second for five of the eight days of racing so far, has paid a price for being the first of the leading group to gybe Monday evening.
His early push to the south has seen him drop to third but he may find more breeze and recoup some of that loss.
Sharp also suffered an auto-pilot failure that spun his boat into a big broach. Remarkably he did not tear his spinnaker but he reckons it took him six-to-seven miles of lost time to get the boat back up to speed.
Class40 leader Yoann Richomme on Veedol-AIC is now heading due west with just over 2,000 miles to go, and leading by 112 nm from Aymeric Chappellier with Sharp now 134 nm from the leader.
Britain’s Sam Goodchild abandoned the race earlier due to his broken mast, but Jack Trigger on Concise 8 remains solid in eighth place on his Route du Rhum debut.
American banker Michael Hennessy on Dragon is an excellent 10th, just ahead of Briton Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) who is on her third Route du Rhum, her second in Class40.
Recently retired pilot John Niewenhous (Loose Fish) from the USA is also having a good race in 16th, Belgium’s Jonas Gerckens (Volvo) and Sweden’s Mikael Ryking (Talanta) are 21st and 22nd around 25 miles apart.
After having to make structural repairs to his boat in La Coruna, South Africa’s Donald Alexander (Power of One) is 27th in strong upwind conditions 120 miles northwest of Cape Finisterre.
And Japan’s Hiroshai Kitada (KIHO) is 47th, still battling the Bay of Biscay after sheltering in Lorient until two days ago.