The first five in the Vendee Glove single-handed race 2012-13 have passed the Gate of Aiguilles The gap widens between the front and back of the fleet.
Only 30 minutes. This is the gap that separated the first boat through the Gate of Aiguilles, François Gabart (MACIF) and the third boat, Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire); a metaphorical photo finish in a race that covers 24,000 miles. It is incredible that the boats are racing so tightly.
At 0400 GMT, this morning, there was only a mere 14 miles separating the three leaders in this nail biting edition of the 2012 Vendée Globe.
The lead pack have now entered mythical seas. A place where tales can only be told by a few; tales of the albatross, the tinted grey light, the jet black mountainous savage seas, majestic icebergs and minefields of growlers, large semi-submerged chunks of solid, boat breaking ice.
Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) remains in the game 89.2 miles behind. The front fleet have their foot down to make the most of the conditions as the new ice gate at Crozet is showing lighter airs. It’s a time for tactical choices and canny decisions. The next 1000 miles for them will be exciting.
Behind them by 182.4 miles, Brit Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) crossed the gate this morning, his speeds are slowing and the gap between him and the front four slowly widens.
Around 400 miles behind, Mike Golding (Gamesa) Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel), and Dominique Wavre’s (Mirabaud) are chomping at the bit with impatience to enter the Indian Ocean; but for them, it will be tomorrow morning. They are struggling with a westerly wind and fickle seas.
The top 5 ranking boats are:
1 - Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) 18 052.4 miles from the finish
2 - Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) 3.7 miles (DTL)
3 - François Gabart (Macif) to 14.2 miles (DTL)
4 - Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) to 89.2 miles (DTL)
5 - Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) at 189.4 miles (DTL)