French skipper only has 17 mile advantage over Brit

Vendee Globe skipper Marc Guillemot’s advantage over Sam Davies has been cut by 17 miles overnight after a consistent, but hard night for both skippers in third and fourth places respectively in the solo, non-stop, round-the-world race.

Davies has been slightly quicker overnight, as she passed through the middle of the Azores archipelago. Around midnight the Roxy skipper was traversing the island cluster, seeing ‘civilization’ for the first time since she left Les Sables d’Olonne on November 9th.

Guillemot’s Safran has slowed slightly but he seems set to stay with the low pressure system which they have been riding, while Davies may feel the effects of a new high pressure system later today, but they will reach a new, much bigger low from about midday tomorrow.

The Roxy skipper reported some testing conditions, gusts to over 40 knots as a front went through yesterday, and breaking seas at times.

Straight line distance Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) is about 500 miles behind Davies, and has about 370 miles to sail to the Azores this morning. He now has Dee Caffari, GBR, (Aviva) on a parallel course, some 200 miles to his south. Thompson may be just touching the first effects of the new Azores anticyclone which he will have to cross as is passes over him, while Caffari – being that bit further south – is still making 10.2 knots this morning while Bahrain Team Pindar is slightly slowed.
Caffari is in the better wind pressure, appearing to be upwind in about 15 knots but may get the lighter winds this afternoon.

They face a slow finish into Les Sables d’Olonne as the high pressure looks set to spread north and protect the Bay of Biscay, but not before this leading group encounter one pretty big Atlantic depression.

Arnaud Boissières on Akena Vérandas is being caught by a little high pressure system ahead of him and is currently about 600 miles behind Caffari with some 1100 miles yet to sail to the Azores.

Steve White’s speeds on Toe in the Water have remained as consistent as are to be expected in the upwind, trade winds conditions he has, whilst Rich Wilson, USA is now some 300 miles off the Brasilian coast, between Rio de Janeiro and Salvador de Bahia, sailing upwind in modest NE’ly breezes.

Later this afternoon Raphael Dinelli and Norbert Sedlacek should pass out of the low pressure system they have been in for three days, which is giving them 30-35 knots of breeze, with bigger gusts.