December 23, 2012
Race time: 43 days, 7 hours
Position: 530 miles to the western end of the Pacific West gate
Ranking: 1900hrs UTC (2000hrs, French time)
With Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) having stopped in the Auckland Islands to try and repair his hydrogenerators, the four boats in front of him continued to fly away into the Pacific. Stamm will be making best use of the daylight he has at the moment 200 miles south of New Zealand.
After briefly losing the lead at the 1100hrs ranking, Francois Gabart (MACIF) had won it back from Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) by 1500hrs and continued to be the fastest boat in the fleet, averaging 20.6 knots over the last four hours, a knot faster than Le Clèac’h.
Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) has lost about 18 miles in that time, sacrificing the more direct course for speed as he heads north-east of the New Zealand gate, 473 miles behind.
Fourth-placed Briton, Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), is now 419 miles ahead of Stamm and southwest of the New Zealand gate, 894 miles behind the leaders, having averaged 15.2 knots in the last four hours.
Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel), in sixth, still has a chance of escaping from the three behind and possibly passing Stamm. He was averaging 16.2 knots on a direct course and is just 414 miles behind Stamm – another day’s sailing. If Stamm re-starts on Christmas Day, as is possible, they may be in the Pacific together.
Behind Stamm, the nightmare of complicated routing continues for Mike Golding (Gamesa), Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) and Javier Sansó (Acciona 100% EcoPowered). From their respective boat speeds they are still finding different conditions on the water than on the weather models, some of which suggest they should be getting a steady 18 knots of northwest wind. Golding and Sansó have been twisting south under Tasmania averaging just 8.4 and 7.2 knots respectively.
Behind them Arnaud Boissières (Akena Verandas) has been the fifth fastest over the last 24 hours, covering 368.7 miles more than twice as many as Sansó, who has made just 176.4 miles.