January 16, 2013
Race time: 67 days, 7 hours
Position: 660 miles to Cape Verde
Ranking: 1900hrs UTC, 2000hrs (French time)
Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) is just 61 miles behind the leader Francois Gabart (MACIF) but the gains may have finished for now as both struggle in the doldrums. Le Cléac’h has averaged 10.6 knots over the last four hours (compared to Gabart’s 6.6), but was down to 6.3 knots over the last hour (compared to Gabart’s 7.4). But it seems likely that Le Cléac’h will be able to bank many of the 212 miles he has won back since Monday afternoon.
Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3), in third, has slowed too, albeit to but was still averaging 11.4 knots over the last four hours and 12.3 knots in the last hour. He is 486 miles behind the leader.
That is three reasons why Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) may be feeling even more optimistic, cautiously, about his chances of winning back some miles on the top three from the west. He was averaging 14.1 knots over the last four hours, 788 mile behind the leader.
Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) and Mike Golding (Gamesa) in fifth and sixth place, continue to struggle on the west and east sides of the course respectively. They are both headed by northerlies and the three strung out behind them have found two or three more knots of boat speed. But it remains unclear whose strategy will prove the better.
Eleventh-placed Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives cœur), flying in front of 20-22 south westerlies has been the fastest in the fleet, averaging 15.1 knots over the last four hours.