Le Cleac'h leads Vendee Globe yacht race
PARIS (AFP) –
French pair Armel Le Cleac’h and Francois Gabart continued to dominate the Vendee Globe round-the-world yachting marathon Friday with Le Cleac’h easing ahead once again in mid Pacific Ocean.
The two sailors have been swapping the lead at regular intervals as they head towards Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America where they will once again navigate into the Atlantic Ocean.
Le Cleac’h is just 12.7 nautical miles clear of Gabart with third-place Jean-Pierre Dick 460.4 nautical miles back.
The chances of a first-ever non-French winner lay with Welshman Alex Thomson, but he was over 800 nautical miles off the pace.
Thirteen yachts were left in the seventh edition of the race, which left Sables d’Olonne in western France on November 10, while seven had been forced out of the gruelling single-handed event.
Organisers said they expected the leaders to round the dangerous waters off Cape Horn on January 1.
Standings (at 0400 GMT Friday)
1. Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA/Banque Populaire) at 8,773.5 nautical miles from the finish
2. François Gabart (FRA/Macif) at 12.7 nautical miles from the lead
3. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA/Virbac-Paprec 3) at 460.4
4. Alex Thomson (GBR/Hugo Boss) at 849.7
5. Jean Le Cam (FRA/SynerCiel) at 1,874.7
6. Mike Golding (GBR/Gamesa) at 2,264.2
7. Dominique Wavre (SUI/Mirabaud) at 2,316.5
8. Javier Sanso (ESP/Acciona) at 2,632.7
9. Arnaud Boissières (FRA/Akena Vérandas) at 2,850
10. Bernard Stamm (SUI/Cheminées Poujoulat) at 2,851.4