Vendee third place for who?

Keel-less Vendee Globe sailor Marc Guillemot (Safran) has pulled back 60 miles on Sam Davies, GBR, (Roxy) who was slowed to a crawl for most of yesterday evening and last night. Averaging just two knots the British skipper covered just 18 miles from 1900hrs GMT to 0400hrs this morning. Guillemot, with no keel and a double reefed mainsail on Safran, is now 202 miles behind Davies who had 180 miles left to sail to the finish line, and had picked up a light northerly breeze early this morning.

Third place remains in the balance in this solo, non-stop round-the-world race. The only definite is that whoever takes the third step on the podium will be joined by Vincent Riou (PRB) who was awarded that equal place as redress.

It was a painfully slow night for Sam Davies. Even late yesterday afternoon Roxy was making only one knot at times, stuck in glassy calms as she tried to make any kind of miles towards Les Sables d’Olonne. Afternoon became evening became night with no real increase in breeze until near dawn this morning then it has been a tough night to take for Davies, so close to home and not able to second guess what the weather cards will be dealt for Guillemot after she finishes.

The French skipper, with his net 50 knots of time allowance, has been slow but steady 4-6 knots while Roxy has been all but stopped. He has pulled back 67 miles since 1000hrs yesterday morning when he sounded defeated and disappointed, 269 miles behind Roxy.

This morning Davies looked to be easing into the gentle 8-10 knots of northerly breeze which she forecast yesterday and which should be enough to bring her and Roxy in to Les Sables d’Olonne late tonight or very early tomorrow morning.  Davies may just be able to open more time again as Safran looks set to encounter the same very light ridge across the worst of the high and then headwinds, but in simple terms he still does look to be still in the running for third at the moment. The British skipper can only do what she can between now and the finish, and then it will depend on if Safran can finish within 50 hours.

Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) has caught to within 111 miles of Safran, but more significantly still retains a cushion of 110 miles over sixth placed Dee Caffari, GBR, (Aviva). Thompson has slowed back to less than ten knots this morning as he starts to feel the effects crossing the high, slack, disorganized winds of less than 10 knots, while Caffari on the yellow Aviva was still making three knots quicker than Thompson and had pulled back a matter of ten miles on him since yesterday.  Bahrain Team Pindar had more inconsistent breezes during the night, up and down, while Aviva carried on at a regular 13-15 knots.  Thompson is looking at light SE’ly breezes and seems set to have two bands of very light breeze to cross today, while Caffari is due to carry on in 15kts S’ly wind.

Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) has now escaped his penance in his high pressure and is heading NE and making a steady 12 knots. He was complaining yesterday of how he could not remember any good, enjoyable sailing in the Atlantic yet. The situation does still look quite confused for him but he has 10 knots NW’ly.

The trade winds are running out for Steve White, GBR, (Toe in the Water) and he now faces the capricious, light and shifty stuff which Boissières has been enduring for more than three days. He still has easterly breezes but they have been pegged back from 15 to closer to 10 knots. He seems set to try to squeeze slightly east and follow Arnaud who is 602 miles ahead.

Rich Wilson, USA, is 140 miles south of Recife on Great American III and is making 8-9 knots in the trade winds there. Raphael Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) is ready to move north of the Forties latitudes today and is making 11 knots in 20-25 knots SE’lies and is into Brasilian waters now, while Norbert Sedlacek, AUT, (Nauticsport Kapsch) is slightly slower again.

04:00 HRS GMT. Rankings

1 . Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) finished after 84 days 3 hours, 9 minutes

2 . Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) finished after 89 days 9 hours 39 minutes

3 . Sam Davies (Roxy) at 180 miles to finish

4 . Marc Guillemot (Safran) at 382 miles to finish

5 . Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar) 493 miles to finish

6 . Dee Caffari (Aviva) at 602 miles to finish

7 . Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) at 1807 miles to finish

8 . Steve White (Toe in the Water) 2306 miles to finish

9 . Rich Wilson (Great American III) at 3893 miles to finish

10 . Raphaël Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) at 5001 miles to finish

11 . Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport – Kapsch) at 5394 miles to finish  

RDG . Vincent Riou (PRB). 30 boats started