Strategy bears fruit for Frenchman

In the Vendée Globe, Jean Le Cam has taken the lead overnight as the leaders negotiate the Cape Verde Islands. Le Cam’s direct route has paid off on VM Materiaux and he leads by 1.6 miles from Seb Josse (BT). Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) is now third, and 9.3 miles back, Mike Golding, (Ecover 3) passes two boats to take eighth place, as the top international helm. Derek Hatfield, CAN, (Algimouss Spirit of Canada) still struggling in light winds off Portuguese coast.

The crucial Cape Verde strategies among the top five boats have yet to really play out and provide their net result, but Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux) became this Vendée Globe’s sixth skipper to lead the race when he eased ahead during the passage through the Cape Verde Islands. Le Cam’s direct route choice, some 80 miles to west of Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) – who had lead since Thursday morning – seems to have paid off. Gitana Eighty made two sharp turns last night to pass to the west of the island of Sao Nicolau, while Seb Josse (BT) remains a steady second. Gitana Eighty is third 9.3 miles behind. In their east Le Cam has made better speeds overnight, more than three knots better than Peyron’s net average. Le Cam was heading directly for Santiago this morning and may pass between that island and Fogo, to the west. Some eighty miles to their west Vincent Riou (PRB), the 2004 winner, and Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac) lead the pack which have chosen to go to the west of the island group. Dick is some 87 miles behind the leader but gained about 17 miles on the lead overnight, and this pack – Riou, Dick and Le Cléac’h – all posted good average speeds overnight and looked to have good winds. Mike Golding, GBR, (Ecover 3) gained two places overnight, overturning the advantages of Jérémie Beyou (Delta Dore) and Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement.)

His compatriot Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar), gained from his westerly move yesterday, and cut about 20 miles from his deficit to the leader, lying 11th. After re-starting yesterday evening, the last skipper to do so before the line closes Wednesday, Jean Baptiste Dejeanty had a steady first 12 hours on the race course, posting 10 knot averages as he heads across the Bay of Biscay.

Vendée Globe