18 December 2012 - 20:32 • 1600 views

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December 18, 2012

Race time: 38 days, 7 hours

Position: 600 miles to New Zealand

Ranking: 2000hrs (French time)

Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) leads Francois Gabart (MACIF) by just two miles as they prepare for their morning in the southern hemisphere and continue their ocean match racing. They will catch sight of each soon at this rate as begin to converge, with Gabart, to the north, winning back four miles in the last four hours.

But the mystery is why Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) has slowed so much. Dick, in third, 391 miles behind, has a 25-knot westerly wind but was averaging just 9.7 knots in the last four hours – and 7.7 knots in the last hour - as he heads towards the East Australia gate.

Meanwhile, Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) continued to average the fastest in the fleet – 18.4 knots in the last four hours – and closed to within 17-miles of fourth-placed Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss).

Further west, Mike Golding (Gamesa) is still the unlucky one, slowed by a windless ridge and averaging just 10.8 knots, as Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel), 225 miles ahead and Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) Javier Sansó (Acciona 100% EcoPowered), close on him. Sansó, averaging the second fastest in the fleet in the last four hours, with 17.4 knots, has also closed to within 96 miles of Wavre.

Matthew Pryor