Sailed in sight yesterday: "Macif" and Banque Populaire"
For the leading duo François Gabart and Armel Le Cléac'h, their exchange of blows with record speeds of the last few days is now paying off in a big lead. Only the two caught the edge of the great low pressure area under Australia, which gives them good wind and speed and lets them hurry away with giant strides. In third place, Jean-Pierre Dick ("Virbac Paprec 3") missed the connection by a hair's breadth, Alex Thomson ("Hugo Boss") and Bernard Stamm had to take a huge detour around the high pressure area in front of them.
The result is, of course, poison for the tension in the race: Gabart and Le Cléac'h have now cleared Jean-Pierre Dick by almost 280 nautical miles, Thomson and Stamm are already around 500 nautical miles behind. And it is foreseeable that the gap will increase significantly in the next few days - a very critical phase of the race for the pursuers. The "oldies gang" Jean Le Cam ("Synerciel"), Mike Golding ("Gamesa") and Dominique Wavre ("Mirabaud") got it worse, with over 1,300 miles behind and three weather systems between them and the top they actually only come within striking distance again due to extreme luck with the weather or technical problems of the leaders.
The status of the race this morning. It is easy to see that the leaders set themselves apart with the large low pressure area
A small indiscretion from Vendée Grand Master Michel Desjoyeaux was interesting yesterday. In an interview with the organizer, he revealed what François Gabart's "Macif" apparently makes a tick faster than "Banque Populaire" - at least under certain conditions: a "Blast Reacher", a foresail that is in the range of 35 to 40 knots and an angle of incidence of 120 degrees and above all keeps the boat very calm and balanced. Gabart had reported during a live broadcast during the Paris Boat Show that his 24-hour record was actually quite relaxing sailing under such conditions. "I was sitting below deck and the autopilot did all the work. I finally got a lot of sleep again!"