Vendee Globe - Lead change and dismasting as skippers push on

Armel le C’leach, Banque Populaire, Vendee Globe 2012
© Vincent Curutchet / BPCE
In the Vendee Globe, while Samantha Davies announced her dismasting to the race office last night, Armel Le Cléac´h, (Banque Populaire) took the lead from François Gabart. But for all the skippers in the top eleven, the conditions are much more comfortable than at the back of the fleet.

With Gabart, the leader since the first night on Saturday, forced to reposition himself west by a ridge of high pressure, Le Cléac’h passed him at 2300hrs (French time) on Thursday. He leads by only 4.7 miles, Gabart is just to the east and Bernard Stamm is 11 miles directly behind Le Cléac’h in third. Le Cléac’h’s lead has already been cut from the 7.5 miles he had at the previous ranking four hours before. Both boats were making just under 11 knots, compared to Stamm’s 7.6 knots as the north westerly wind has veered north and eased to 10 knots.

Sam Davies, Saveol dismasting - 2012 Vendee Globe

Alex Thomson continues to close the gap in fourth place and is just 65 miles behind the leader now, with a 12-mile lead over Jean-Pierre Dick. Vincent Riou keeps losing out on the west and slipped back to seventh behind Jérémie Beyou. But in the last hour Riou’s speed has been the highest of the top 12 boats at 12 knots, so he may press back.

Ranking 0900hrs (French time).

Vendee Globe website