Latest on first Vendee boat round Horn - plus Sam gets redress for mercy mission

At 0310 this morning (UTC), leader Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia rounded Cape Horn after 56 days, 15 hours and 08 minutes of racing ? a little faster than the time taken in 2004 to reach the Horn (56d 17h 13′), even though this year’s route has been extended by some 1,200 miles. Foncia is the first boat to exit the Pacific and enter the Atlantic Ocean ? and begin the final climb north to the finish line.
Mich Desj passed just a couple of miles off the coast of the fearsome landmark, reporting squalls of 35-40 knots, gusting 45, at around midnight in local, Chilean time – his path flagged by the famous lighthouses on the rocks. However, on rounding the tip of South America Foncia is experiencing flatter seas.

After a strong NW’ly wind this weekend, the leaders are being greeted by a 20-25 knot westerly, likely to ease further as a high pressure zone develops off the tip of Patagonia.

Desjoyeaux is now 120 miles ahead of second placed Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environment). Jourdain is currently about 80 miles away from the Cape, and expects to round the Horn around eight hours behind Foncia.

Behind these two leaders there has been little change ? the closely matched pair of Vincent Riou (PRB) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) are now just 14 miles apart on this morning’s rankings, with a 20-mile lateral separation.

Sam Davies (Roxy, GBR) continues to hold a 300-mile advantage over Marc Guillemot on Safran, although Safran has recently picked up high speeds to become the fastest boat overnight – averaging over 16 knots since last night’s position update.

This duo have also been notified of the redress they will receive for going to the aid of Yann Eliès. The International Jury has awarded 82 hours to Marc Guillemot as redress, while Sam Davies receives 32 hours. With a gap to the next boat, Brit Air, of 1,300 miles for Sam and more than 1,700 miles for Marc this is unlikely to change the hierarchy. 

However, if Guillemot decides to stop to make repairs to his main he will have to keep an eye on Sam, as he is currently 300 miles behind her, which represents about half of the redress time he now has in the bank.

Further back, 11th-placed Steve White (Toe in the Water, GBR) has been making good progress at around 15 knots to gain a little ground on the duo of Arnaud Boissieries (Akena Vérandas) and Dee Caffari (Aviva, GBR) in ninth and tenth.
Rich Wilson (Great American III, USA) is set to become the next boat to cross the International Date Line, and is currently around 80 miles away from the Greenwich Meridian.

Sébastien Josse on the retired BT is also making good progress to Auckland, currently around 100 miles away he is expected to arrive in New Zealand later today