Dramatic slow down for Vendee leader

Vendee Globe race leader Michel Desjoyeaux has hit the Doldrums 24 hours earlier than expected, slowing down dramatically. The forecasters at Meteo France have confirmed that the French skipper is now officially in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone – and that it is big, wide and active.

Biggger squalls interspersed with unsettled, light winds are now spread over a north-south band some 400 miles wide.

This afternoon Desjoyeaux, aboardFoncia, had slowed to an average speed of 1.1 knots, while Roland Jourdain, in second place 417 miles behind Desjoyeaux, was making an average speed of 12.5 knots. If the ITCZ contracts, shrinking northwards withFoncia, Jourdain will benefit. He has already regained 37 miles since last night.

In third place, Armel Le Cléac’h, aboardBritairwas making an average speed of 9.3 knots. He is more than 1,000 miles behindFoncia, and 634.5 miles behind Jourdain.

The Cape Horn Trio still have good speed at the moment, in good breeze but they are approaching the high pressure and will start to slow in less than 24 hours. That’s bad news for Brian Thompson because his lead over Arnaud Boissières is just 71 miles, though he has gained three miles this morning and has been making 14 knots of boat speed. In turn Dee Caffari is doing well, just 2.2 miles behind Boissières.

Steve White has a cold front to deal with as he heads to Cape Horn, 35knots of NW’ly wind and has just 136 miles to go to the Horn, he should get there between 10 and midnight GMT.