A Calming Effect
In light winds between the Cape Verde Islands and the Canaries, the Vendée Globe leaders are finding it hard to climb back up towards the Azores. Alex Thomson has managed to regain around twenty miles or so from race leader, Armel le Cléac'h during the night, with the British skipper now 180 miles from the Frenchman. Jean Le Cam and Yann Eliès have just crossed into the Northern Hemisphere.
The climb back up the Atlantic is continuing to cause difficulties for the two frontrunners, who are going between periods when they are slowed down and times when they can accelerate slightly. It was a particularly tough night for the leader, who only has around ten knots of wind from the east. Armel le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire VIII) was sailing at eight knots, while Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) was up to eleven this morning. Just above the Tropics at 25°N, the two skippers are going to have to make their way back up to around 30°N (the latitude of the Canaries) before they pick up a twenty-knot SE'ly breeze. Today looks like being another slow one, before they are able to accelerate for a while, at least until they get to the latitude of Spain.
For Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ), the weather is much more favourable with a fifteen-knot trade wind, while Jean-Pierre Dick (StMichel-Virbac) is making his way north thanks to a strengthening easterly wind. In his wake, the following pair crossed the Equator at around four this morning. Jean Le Cam (Finistère Mer Vent) and Yann Eliès (Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir) are still neck and neck. Behind them, Louis Burton has changed tack on the edge of the St. Helena high and is now heading north at eleven knots on his way to the Equator.
Conrad Colman (Foresight Natural Energy):
"Third time around and solo! It feels amazing to be finally around the last major landmark on the course and now focus on getting as much north into my route as possible instead of the constant run to the east and defines the marathon in the south. In such a lonely point on the planet it was strange to be standing on deck and then see the dark shape of a huge trimaran emerge from the mists. It was Idec Sport that left France on December 16th 2016 in pursuit of the Jules Verne Trophy. I have several friends onboard and it was an odd feeling to run into my buddies and swim training partners so far from home, but then where else would you find French ocean racers?! After a beautiful day of sunshine and blue sky the world turned grey and wet on my approach and I only saw the lonely islands that make up the first foot hills of the Andes mountains when I was 12 miles away. I even saw the rough outline of the famous rock in the mists before the night mixed with the clouds to obscure everything. I'll just have to come back for a good photo! Any excuse is a good one."
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