Ice floes dog Vendee fleet

The top three solo, non-stop, round-the-world Vendee Globe racing sailors are piling along at over 18 knots despite the report from Michel Desjoyeaux, Foncia, that he had spotted a large ice floe less than half a mile away.

The northern and southern sides of the course are converging, being
channeled through the gap between the Kerguelen Islands and Heard Island. It is about 230 miles wide but this hostile channel, where the seabed shelves quite sharply has led to the difficult, confused seas which several skippers reported .

Mike Golding, sailing Ecover,said: “The conditions over the last 24-48 hours
have really been quite difficult because we are sailing in between 22-35
knots and sailing in an enormous sea which are coming up from the North west and
the seas are out of kilter with the wind angle, which means that the boat is
really having to work very hard, or the pilot in particular is having to work very
hard to avoid a crash gybe, and when you overpower the boat the risk is even
greater and so it is pretty stressful. I have not been in my bunk for two
days. I have been sleeping at the nav station because it is so on the wire.”

Solo, non-stop, around the world race in Open 60s.
Standings as of 18:30 UTC:
1. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Paprec-Virbac 2, 15533.7 nm Distance to finish
2. Roland Jourdain (FRA), Veolia Environnement, 30.8 nm Distance to leader
3. Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), Foncia, 31.6 DTL
4. Mike Golding (GBR), Ecover, 34.4 nm DTL
5. Sébastien Josse (FRA), BT, 56.8 nm DTL
15. Samantha Davies (GBR), Roxy, 664.6 nm DTL
16. Dee Caffari (GBR), Aviva, 848.2 nm DTL
20. Rich Wilson (USA), Great American III, 1475.2 nm DTL
22. Derek Hatfield (CAN), Algimouss Spirit of Canada, 1999.3 nm DTL

Vendee Globe