Single-handed Yuletide Southern Ocean
Close to the hypothetical half-way mark Francois Gabart (MACIF) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) lead the Vendée Globe 2012/13 race.
After separating briefly on Saturday, Francois Gabart (MACIF) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) were back together on Sunday slanting towards the West Pacific gate, 650 miles away. Gabart is just 3.4 miles ahead and 25 miles south of Le Cléac’h.
Their present speed in a northwest wind, averaging the fastest in the fleet, with Gabart making 20.5 knots over the last four hours. Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) still thundering on, northwest of them, has been almost keeping pace, averaging 18.2 knots, to stay 444 miles behind. Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) has been able to find only a more sedate 14.2 knots.
Thomson passed the hypothetical halfway mark in miles at 04.28hrs (GMT) on the December 21st, but he is 150 miles from the International Dateline at the 180 degrees. The time difference, going from 12 hours in front, to 12 hours behind, makes no difference to the skippers, but for many it marks the halfway mark of the race, where they are officially and psychologically sailing in the western longitudes home.
Latest race rankings:
1 François Gabart (MACIF), 10,466.6 miles to the finish
2 Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire), +3.4 miles to the leader
3 Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) +444.5 miles to leader
4 Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) GBR +870.5 miles to leader
5 Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat), SUI +1231 miles to leader ￼￼￼￼￼