Le Cleac'h sets Vendee pace in Indian Ocean
PARIS (AFP) –
French skipper Armel Le Cleac’h continued to set the pace at the head of the Vendee Globe fleet in the Indian Ocean on Wednesday morning ahead of compatriots Francois Gabart and Jean-Pierre Dick.
Swiss helmsman Bernard Stamm had provisionally assumed third place with Gabart’s location unable to be pinpointed at 0400 GMT when the day’s first set of standings were released.
The French trio, Stamm and Briton Alex Thomson maintained an average speed of around 18 knots, but those further back have been slowed with unfavourable conditions holding up the progress some of the flotilla’s elder statesman such as Mike Golding, Jean Le Cam and Dominique Wavre.
At his current pace, Le Cleac’h should reach the Crozet “ice gate” by Thursday, with the race leader only 430 nautical miles away from the second such control designed to keep the field north of a detected iceberg.
In all 13 boats remain in the hunt for sailing’s toughest test twenty five days after the 2012-2013 Vendee Globe set off from the French port of Les Sables d’Olonne.
Seven boats have pulled out, including the only woman skipper in the race, Britain’s Samantha Davies, who came fourth in the last edition two years ago.
Vendee Globe Standings (at 0800 GMT)
1. Armel Le Cleac’h (FRA/Banque Populaire) 17,226.8 nautical miles from finish)
2. Francois Gabart (FRA/Macif) at 12.5 miles
3. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA/Virbac Paprec) 30.3
4. Bernard Stamm (SUI/Cheminees Poujoulat) 41.7
5. Alex Thomson (GBR/Hugo Boss) 157.5
6. Mike Golding (GBR/Gamesa) 542.2
7. Jean Le Cam (FRA/SynerCiel) 608.3
8. Dominique Wavre (SUI/Mirabaud) 622.6
9. Javier Sanso (ESP/Acciona) 1,320.4
10. Arnaud Boissieres (FRA/Akena Verandas) 1,642.6