Latest on three Brits heading for the Vendee finish

Third place in this Vendée Globe could still go either way. While yesterday the balance looked to have tipped back in favour of the La Trinité skipper Marc Guillemot on Safran, the contrary winds have slowed him in his severely compromised boat, trying to complete the last of around 1,000 miles with no keel and a reefed mainsail. Sam Davies (pictured at yesterday’s finish) will have to wait to see what happens.

With 132 miles to go in just less than 23 hours (from 0330hrs GMT positions) his average VMG now needs to be closer to 5.8 knots. Yesterday it was 5.3 knots and this morning he had averaged 4.3 but even then his boat speed was down to 3.7 knots. With no significant changes in the wind strengths and pattern predicted over today, perhaps time is slipping away on Guillemot’s chances of third.
He has been sailing on waters he knows well, his Open 60 training grounds in effect. At one point he was just 5.5 miles off the coast at Penmarch point.

Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar) will keep his loose cover on Dee Caffari (Aviva) on this final beat to the finish line. She is just 24 miles behind him in terms of distance to finish and has been a little quicker, but she still needs to head NE up to follow close to his line and so the theoretical figures are slightly skewed because they are beating and Caffari is closer to the direct course which does not take account of the wind direction. So Thompson still has the upper hand and his biggest worry would be any kind of park up tonight.

Weymouth’s Steve White (Toe in the Water) is quickest in the fleet this morning, doing 12.8 knots and is making good time to the west of the high, gaining from his more direct course. He is still 550 miles behind Akena Verandas but looks like he might get a quicker passage north before they reach the influence of this blocking high pressure protecting Biscay which looks unlikely to move for some time. White’s current ambition is to cross the finish line next weekend.