But keeless Guillemot is pacing well

At 0400 this morning Sam Davies had less than 600 miles to sail to the finish line of the Vendee Globe. Under big spinnaker Sam was managing to outrun the worst effects of the high pressure system and maintain a steady average to bring her ETA Les Sables d’Olonne back to Saturday, although a slow finish may still see that slip.

Despite having no keel Marc Guillemot is pacing Davies well on Safran and is 90 miles behind.

Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) has opened miles on Dee Caffari, GBR, (Aviva) in the reaching conditions.

In the moderate downwind conditions they have been enjoying the differences in speed between Sam Davies’ Roxy and Marc Guillemot’s doubly handicapped Safran have not been too great. The British skipper has had a good night pushing averages of 12-13 knots while Guillemot has been closer to the 10-11 knots and this morning is within 90 miles of Roxy in terms of distance to finish. As the low pressure to the north contains the high a little then they have been able to keep moving perhaps a little better than was expected, and a Saturday finish seems to be on the cards, although Davies considers that the final 200 miles late Thursday and Friday will still be slow. Davies is 300 miles NW of Cape Finisterre this morning and Guillemot 385 miles to the NWW of the Cape.

Fast reaching in their southerly breezes of just over 20 knots has Bahrain Team Pindar in a particular sweet spot and Brian Thompson, GBR, has been eking out the miles on Dee Caffari, GBR, (Aviva). NW of the Azores now Brian was especially quick in the small hours of the morning, making over 17 knots, while Dee has been in the range 12-13 knots on average, perhaps more obviously punished now by her progressively disintegrating mainsail. Thompson is now just over 91 miles ahead of Caffari.

Arnaud Boissières on Akena Vérandas did have a promising spell around midnight last night and was making over seven knots this morning, but he has been very stuck in the centre of the second high pressure in the north Atlantic, and average less than five knots last night.  That has allowed the regular Steve White, GBR (Toe in the Water) to catch more miles and he is now 620 miles behind, as close as he has been since White was snared by a high pressure in the South Pacific.  White has gained 120 miles on him since the same time on Monday morning, and can expect to carry on his gains for at least another two days of trade winds sailing for the British skipper.

Rich Wilson, USA, (Great American III) is still 175 miles south of Salvador de Bahia and is making a steady 8-9 knots is light easterly trade winds. Behind him Norbert Sedlacek, AUT, (Nauticsport Kapsch) has been able to eat into the lead of Raphael Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) who has strayed too far into an anticyclone just now and was making less than 5 knots for much of the night. The Austrian skipper is 361 miles behind Dinelli this morning, but reports that he had a very difficult time in the big low pressure system, spending lot of time at the helm because his autopilot has not been working; three knock-downs on Monday.  Yesterday was repair and clean up day.  He says his eyes are still stinging and swollen, but he is feeling better. 

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 583 miles to finish

4 . Marc Guillemot (Safran) at 673 miles to finish

5 . Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar) 1152 miles to finish

6 . Dee Caffari (Aviva) at 1245 miles to finish

7 . Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) at 2043 miles to finish

8 . Steve White (Toe in the Water) 2663 miles to finish

9 . Rich Wilson (Great American III) at 4246 miles to finish

10 . Raphaël Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) at 5378 miles to finish

11 . Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport – Kapsch) at 5739 miles to finish 

RDG . Vincent Riou (PRB).. 30 boats started

See Dick Durham’s blog