Vendée Globe: The Jackal is on the hunt
Friday, November 25, 2016 11:00 AM
Yesterday Thomson's Hugo Boss was the most southerly boat in the fleet, sailing within 30nm of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone, with Le Cléac'h and third placed Sébastien Josse more than 100nm to the north. However this morning the positions for the leading trio have inverted with Thomson now 50nm to the north of Le Cléac'h as they gamble on the best route to pick up an Indian Ocean depression.
Speeds are still high among the frontrunners but at the 0500 UTC position report Le Cléac'h had almost three more knots of boat speed, pushing Banque Populaire VIII along at 17.9 knots compared to Hugo Boss at 15.3. Josse's Edmond de Rothschild crossed the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope at 0044 UTC today, almost 14 hours behind Thomson, making him the third skipper to leave the South Atlantic and begin the next phase of the Vendee Globe.
A clear rift has developed between the front three and the chasing trio of Paul Meilhat (SMA), Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ) and Yann Eliès (Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir). A week ago it looked like Eliès' hopes of a shot at the Vendée Globe title had been dashed but some smart sailing has allowed the French Vendée Globe veteran to stay within a few days of the frontrunners.
As well as pushing ahead these three must also look over their shoulders – 500nm behind the trio of Jean-Pierre Dick, Jean Le Cam and Thomas Ruyant are accelerating towards them in better breeze at speeds of more than 20 knots. The large group still stuck in the St Helena High can expect to be in the South Atlantic for at least another eight days before they pass the Cape of Good Hope bound for the Southern Ocean.
Crossing of the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope
1-Alex Thomson : 17d 22h 58'
2-Armel le Cléac'h : 18d 03h 30' - 04h 32' after the leader
3-Sébastien Josse : 18d 12h 42' - 13h 44' after the leader