Stamm takes lead in yachting's Vendee Globe
PARIS (AFP) –
Switzerland’s Bernard Stamm has taken the lead for the first time in the solo, round-the-world Vendee Globe race ahead of France’s Francois Gabart, Jean-Pierre Dick and Armel Le Cleac’h, organisers said on Friday.
Stamm took pole position in the southern Indian Ocean after Le Cleac’h, who had held the lead for much of the last 18 days, paid the price for trying to cut off an anticyclone near the Crozet “ice gate”.
The Swiss skipper was the first to pass the virtual marker post on Thursday morning and the first to meet gentle winds — those slower than 10 knots.
At 0400 GMT on Friday, he was sailing at no more than 4.6 knots while Stamm (15.5 knots), Gabart (14.3 knots) and Dick (13.4 knots) were travelling nearly three times faster and more southward, buoyed by more sustained wind.
Le Cleac’h dropped to fourth overall and those in his wake chose to delay heading through the gentle wind zone, crossing their fingers that it will disappear when they head northward to pass Crozet.
Stamm’s performance in his third Vendee Globe is remarkable given that his boat “Cheminees Poujoulat” is the most powerful of the fleet but also the most demanding physically.
The 49-year-old, who is based in the Brittany region of northwest France, has a glittering record in world sailing, having twice won the Velux 5 Oceans in 2002/3 and 2006/7 and is experienced in the Southern Ocean.
Standings at 0400 GMT:
1. Bernard Stamm (SUI/Cheminees Poujoulat) 16,641 nautical miles (19,150 miles, 30,819 kilometres) from the finish
2. Francois Gabart (FRA/Macif) at 11.5 miles
3. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA/Virbac Paprec 3) at 59.5 miles
4. Armel Le Cleac’h (FRA/Banque Populaire) at 106.2 miles
5. Alex Thomson (GBR/Hugo Boss) at 145.3 miles
6. Mike Golding (GBR/Gamesa) at 653.7 miles
7. Dominique Wavre (SUI/Mirabaud) at 677.6 miles
8. Jean Le Cam (FRA/SynerCiel) at 678.1 miles
9. Javier Sanso (ESP/Acciona) at 1,295 miles
10. Arnaud Boissières (FRA/Akena Verandas) at 1,515 miles