Positions fought for as first ice-gate approaches

After a stormy night for the Vendee Globe a few of the leading skippers – Vincent Riou and Mike Golding among them – admitted they had pushed their Open 60s too hard, but the heavy weather gave way to lighter 15-20 knots, westerly winds for the front running group who will pass through the first ice gate this evening and tonight.

First to cross – passing north to south – should be Seb Josse (BT), leader now for four days, and Yann Elies (Generali) who are running neck and neck for the line, side by side about 12 miles apart. Generali, the Finot Conq design, has gained through the day, more than halving Josse’s lead of this morning.

While they will then be the first to get the benefit of getting directly back to the south, strongest breeze-shortest route, the flip side of the coin is the choice of Jean Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2), 3rd and Loick Peyron, (Gitana Eighty), 4th, who are have been hanging on longer to their more southerly position, before choosing when to gybe north and cut the gate before breaking south again.

They have been waiting for the wind to veer more and build, giving them a faster angle to go back on. Between the two schools Mike Golding, GBR, (Ecover 3), 9th, Vincent Riou (PRB), 6th, and Jean Le Cam (VM Materiaux), 7th are all heading north east on starboard gybe on different angles. Le Cam has been sailing 10 degrees lower and may be looking to just pass the westernmost point of the line before heading south east again.

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