Alex Thomson took Hugo Boss as close to the centre of storm Theta as he considered prudent, before a difficult gybe in around 40kts of wind and 5 metre seas.
Thomson, who leads the Vendée Globe by some 20 nautical miles, was first to deal with the worst of storm Theta at some 250 miles south of the Azores.
He gybed around 13:30hrs Friday afternoon, a move which should see him gain significantly on all but the French veteran Jean Le Cam who took a similar track.
The reward for the extra risk is sailing fewer miles than the rivals who are chasing him is being slingshot out of the low in strong N an NW’ly winds which, all going well, should net him a significant miles on his fast foiling rivals.
Thomson’s nearest pursuer is 61 year old Jean Le Cam whose ocean racing history dates back to the 1980s and who won La Solitaire du Figaro three times and finished second in the Vendée Globe in 2004-5.
Le Cam is sailing a 2007 launched boat with conventional straight daggerboards and leads all of the latest generation foilers other than Thomson’s radical Hugo Boss.
Le Cam is more than thirty miles up on the third placed Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOut.
PRB skipper Kevin Escoffier highlighted the need to keep the hammer down as much as possible to avoid being left behind.
Descibing the situation as . . . not so much the rich get richer as the poor being left behind in a vacuum of anti cyclonic very light winds.
Meanwhile some 300 miles to the north east, back up the track Miranda Merron and Didac Costa were among those stuck in the light winds and oily seas.
Vendée Globe – Day 6 Fri 13 Nov at 18:00 hrs. (33 entries)
1st GBR 99 Alex Thomson – HUGO BOSS – 0.0 nm
2nd FRA 01 Jean Le Cam – Yes we Cam ! – 20.0 nm
3rd FRA Thomas Ruyant – LinkedOut – 53.0 nm
4th FRA Nicolas Troussel – CORUM L’EPARGNE – 57.0 nm
5th FRA Kevin Escffier – PRB – 62.0 nm
6th FRA 09 Benjamin Dutreux – OMIA – Water Family – 64.0 nm
7th FRA 79 Charlie Dalin – APIVA – 67.0 nm
8th FRA Damien Seguin – GROUPE APICIL – 97.0 nm
9th FRA Sam Davies – INITIATIVES-COEUR – 98.0 nm
10th FRA Yannick Bestaven – Maître CoQ IV – 102.0 nm
25th GBR 777 Pip Hare – Medallia – 337.0 nm
26th FRA 50 Miranda Merron – Campagne de France – 347.0 nm