With Alex Thomson and Hugo Boss now out of the Vendee Globe and setting course for Cape Town, race leader Charlie Dalin (Apivia) is some 520 nautical miles west of the longitude of Cape of Good Hope.
Dalin is largely matching the pace of the hard pressing group that is chasing him led by Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOut.
Now into third place is Kevin Escoffier (PRB) his highest position in the race yet, but Jean Le Cam continues to impress with his super direct course, averaging just two to three knots less than the foiling boats to his south.
Escoffier may rank as a first timer in terms of solo racing in the southern ocean, but he has been the quickest over the 24 hours to 04:00 hrs this Sunday morning, breaking 480 miles to average over 20kts.
So too Sébastien Simon on the new Juan K designed ARKEA PAPREC who has been fast in seventh place.
And just bBehind Simon is Britain’s Sam Davies on Initiatives-Coeur who gybed just before Gough Island, in the clement zone close behind the front – 25 knt TWS.
But as the breeze built and the instability arrived, she furled the A7 in order to sail a clear enough course to pass safely to the South West of Gough.
Davies was then caught by a big surprise when the breeze went from 25 to 40 in the middle of the night for the first time, with a little “wipe out” and Initiatives Coeur lay flat on her side with a nice cold wave breaking over her!
‘Ease all the sheets and back on our feet . . . that too is a scary manouver as you have to bear away but not too far so as to avoid a Chinese Gybe on the way out!’
So then the tricky bit is to find a trim and sail set-up for 22 to 42 knots of wind speed!
Not easy, when sailing solo and you need to rest a little and not stay all night in the cockpit with the sheets in your (cold) hands!
After a few more little wipeouts, the night was over with nothing broken and the average wind speed starting to drop.
For Sam the next step is to put on a thicker pair of socks on . . . ‘because my feet are blocks of ice!’ . . . deploy a bigger sail and get going a bit faster.
Vendée Globe Leaders – Day 22 – Sun 29 Nov – Updated 21:00 hrs UK
1st FRA Charlie Dalin – APIVIA – 17,974 nm to finish – sailing at 15.0 knots
2nd FRA Thomas Ruyant – LinkedOut – 274 nm
3rd FRA Kevin Escoffier – PRB – 296 nm
4th FRA Jean Le Cam – Yes we Cam! – 300 nm
5th FRA Yannick Bestaven – Maître CoQ IV – 338 nm
6th FRA Louis Burton – BUREAU VALLEE 2 – 354 nm
7th FRA Sebastien Simon – ARKEA PAPREC – 368 nm
8th FRA Boris Herrmann – SEAEXPLORER – 393 nm
9th FRA Damien Seguin – GROUPE APICIL – 469 nm
10th FRA Giancarlo PEDOTE – PRYSMIAN GROUP – 523 nm
11th GBR Sam Davies – INITIATIVES-COEUR – 533 nm
15th GBR Alex Thomson – HUGO BOSS – 728 nm – Retired
24th GBR Pip Hare – Medallia – 2181 nm
28th GBR Miranda Merron – Campagne de France – 2594 nm
Retired: Nicolas Troussel, Alex Thomson