In 1993, Bruno Peyron and his crew of four on the giant catamaran Commodore Explorer broke the mythical 80 days, setting a mark at 79 days 06hrs and 15 mins. Now some 20 years later that mark might be broken by a solo sailor for the first time.
The record for the Atlantic climb from Cape Horn is 27 days and 12 hours. Presently it looks as if the leaders might leave the Pacific around January 1s, so some 52 days after leaving Les Sables d’Olonne.
So if François Gabart and/or Armel Le Cléac’h can be close to Michel Desjoyeaux’s 2009 reference time they could well lower the bar to less than 80 days, but it needs to be remembered that the Foncia skipper did have very favourable weather conditions and he could sail his own race. But even so, a finish in Les Sables d’Olonne around the 27 to 29th January is not beyond the realms of possibility.
Bernard Stamm’s team say that the Swiss skipper is expected in Dunedin between 0100hrs and 0300hrs (French time) this morning where he will carry on with the work to try and repair his damaged hydrogenerators.
Meantime the balance of power has changed hands once again in the tussle between Armel Le Cléac’h and François Gabart. Le Cléac’h lead this morning and does again this evening with a small margin of just over 3 miles. Banque Populaire has been more than one knot quicker over the last poll period.
Meanwhile Mike Golding will be considering Stamm’s problems. On the one hand the British skipper has been unequivocal in his support for Bernard, saying how he hopes he will be able to continue in the race to complete his first Vendée Globe, but on the other hand he will realise that he – like Jean Le Cam has already – will soon benefit from the Cheminées Poujoulat skipper’s halt. Golding is 270 miles west of Stamm’s longtitude and might expect to pass that line tomorrow.