Loïck Peyron sailing the Open 60 yacht Gitana Eighty still leads the Vendée Globe but Jean Le Cam on VM Matériaux continues to advance in second as the leading pack compress slightly. Speeds are dropping slightly among the leaders and the chasing group are making steady gains. Derek Hatfield of Canada (Algimouss Spirit of Canada) re-started this morning and makes good progress through his first day back on the race course. Front runners are feeling the pressure, fourth placed Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2) and 1. !

Vendee Globe

Vendee Globe

Vendee Globe 2008 Skippers,Yacht, Country

  1. Loick Peyron, Gitana Eighty, FRANCE
  2. Michel Desjoyeaux, Foncia, FRANCE
  3. Roland Jourdain, Veolia Environnement, FRANCE
  4. Jérémie Beyou, Delta Dore, FRANCE
  5. Jean-Pierre Dick, Paprec Virbac 2, FRANCE
  6. Jean Le Cam, VM Materiaux, FRANCE
  7. Samantha Davies, Roxy, GREAT BRITAIN
  8. Yann Eliès, Generali, FRANCE
  9. Arnaud Boissieres, Akena Verandas, FRANCE
  10. Marc Guillemont, Safran, FRANCE
  11. Rich Wilson, Great American III, USA
  12. Bernard Stamm, Cheminées Poujoulat, SWITZERLAND
  13. Dominique Wavre, Temenos, SWITZERLAND
  14. Derek Hatfield, Algimouss Spirit of Canada, CANADA
  15. Raphaël Dinelli, Fondation Ocean Vital, FRANCE
  16. Unai Basurko, Pakea Bizkaia, SPAIN
  17. Amel Le Cléac’h, Brit Air, FRANCE
  18. Sébastian Josse, BT, FRANCE
  19. Dee Caffari, Aviva, GREAT BRITAIN
  20. Norbert Sedlacek, Nauticsport-Kapsch, AUSTRIA
  21. Steve White, Spirit of Weymouth, GREAT BRITAIN
  22. Jonny Malbon, Artemis, GREAT BRITAIN
  23. Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty, Groupe Maisoneuve, FRANCE
  24. Vincent Riou, PRB, FRANCE
  25. Brian Thompson, Pindar, GREAT BRITAIN
  26. Mike Golding, Ecover 3, GREAT BRITAIN

    Making around 13-15 knots heading south west off the Portuguese coast this afternoon spurred by 15-20 knot winds Loïck Peyron‘s Gitana Eighty had overhauled Paprec-Virbac 2 by a matter of just 1.5 miles, in the Vendée Globe leading a small breakaway group of six which have gained a jump of more than 20 miles. Since Sunday’s start in Les Sables d’Olonne, nine of the record fleet of 30 IMOCA Open 60’s have returned, or are returning to Vendée port. Alex Thomson’s British boat Hugo Boss suffered structural cracking to the port side of the hull. His boat was taking water until he started his return to Les Sables d’Olonne where he is expected to arrive early Wednesday morning. The ingress reduced when loads on the hull reduced. Two skippers have restarted, Switzerland’s Dominique Wavre on Temenos 2 left again on Sunday night and has made up to 18th place. Of the three which sustained broken masts Groupe Bel (Kito de Pavant) and Marc Thiercelin’s DCNS have officially retired from racing. After fixing his engine problems Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) returned to the race course early this morning, and this afternoon was more than 400 miles from the leaders.

    The intensity is telling at the front of the Vendée Globe fleet but as the breezes appear to be getting a little lighter ahead so the pressure will only increase among the leading group. Peyron has seen his lead shrink from more than 30 miles in the early morning to 24.3 miles later this afternoon while the gains for third placed Seb Josse (BT) also continue, but as the fleet converge again after their choices at the Canary Islands today, there is still less than 100 miles, in terms of DTF (distance to finish) from 10th to first, and the lateral separation is still about 120 miles from Jean Le Cam in the east who is sticking to his lane inside Peyron, while out in the west Vincent Riou (PRB) and Armel le Cléac’h (Brit Air) have separated slightly with Brit Air taking a small lead. Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2) spoke today of his tiredness, his vivid dreams where he considered Jesus to be trimming his sails, but more importantly of losing time when he had to recover a gennaker from the water. “I let go my gennaker halyard and the sail fell into the water. It was like a big trawl net. It was an hour-long struggle to get it back on board.” He told today’s radio broadcast. Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) also admitted to having been wrestling with a gennaker, but his problem was both more time consuming and more compromising. He spoke of wrapping his crucial all purpose big gennaker around the inner stay, tearing it to the point that it requires a big repair. Thompson had been making ground on 10th placed Mike Golding, GBR, on Ecover 3, until the damage, but the tables have been turned since and Golding has built a cushion of 70 miles, after admitting that he thought had been able to see Ecover 3 yesterday. Sam Davies, GBR, (ROXY), 14th, seems to have taken the upper hand again in her all girl duel with Dee Caffari, GBR, (Aviva). Davies’ westerly route, to Caffari’s easterly option has given a lead of 17 miles. Unai Basurko, ESP, (Pakea Bizkaia) reported in to the radio vacations today that he was now in good breeze, taking the most inshore route, some 125 miles off Essouira. Derek Hatfield, CAN, (Algimouss Spirit of Canada) was making good ground in light winds today after restarting very early this morning. Ahead of him, Bernard Stamm, SUI, (Cheminées Poujoulat), around 90 miles in front and making slow progress in soft winds, frustrating after he started again 24 hours earlier than the Canadian. But can the former Mountie ‘catch his man’?

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