Vendee Globe - Respective comebacks continue for Dick and Thomson

Virbac Paprec 3 - 2012 Vendee Globe
In the Vendee Globe, Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) continue their respective comebacks against the leading duo of Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) and François Gabart (Macif) who have been slowed by a transition zone of lighter winds.

Though a report was sent by his Cheminées Poujoulat team last night indicating that Bernard Stamm was nearly ready to leave his anchorage off Dunedin, NZ and rejoin the race after making repairs, the Swiss skipper, who has been protested by the Race Committee, was still stopped early this morning. The actions which took place when he went alongside a Russian survey vessel in the Auckland Islands in adverse weather conditions in a tight anchorage are the subject of the protest hearing. It is investigating whether outside assistance, contrary to the strict race rules, took place.

Jean-Pierre Dick and Alex Thomson have been reeling off relatively fast miles as they benefit from strong W’ly and NW’ly winds which are allowing them a much more direct, straight course towards the final safety gate of the course. Forced south by an awkward transition zone of slack winds, race leader Le Cléac’h and Gabart make only modest speeds. With some 300 miles to make to the Pacific West gate Le Cléach is ahead of Gabart by just 12.7 miles this morning, the pair making between 13 and 15kts in light N’ly winds. Their speeds have risen slightly but their losses to their pursuers are expected to continue. Dick has reduced his margin to the leader by 180 miles in 24 hours and was down to 460 miles behind Banque Populaire. Briton Thomson, recovering 170 miles over that same period, is about 850 miles behind.

Conditions have been pretty tough for the vastly experienced Jean Le Cam who leads the group of ‘Fifties in the 50’s’ on SynerCiel. Le Cam, 53, had visibly slowed through yesterday and had complained of the robust sea state but his more direct course to the north of the tracks of Mike Golding (Gamesa) and Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) sees the French skipper sailing significantly quicker, riding the low pressure system whilst his pursuers are on the back of it and may run the risk of falling off. After repositioning to the north slightly and losing some miles in lighter airs, Spain’s Javier Sanso – 300 miles behind Mirabaud - looks set to have Acciona 100% Eco Powered back in stronger NW’ly winds today.

Arnaud Boissieres (Akena Verandas), sixth in the last edition of the Vendée Globe, must have expected to be higher up the fleet at this stage, but the skipper from Arcachon has been delivering some impressively quick 24 hour runs recently. He has just passed Stamm and so is up to ninth place and is 450 miles from the New Zealand gate. Bertrand de Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM Projects) passed into the Pacific at 21:55hrs last night.

Vendee Globe website