At this morning’s position report Loïck Peyron is again at the head of the Vendee Globe fleet, albeit by a margin of just 7.4 miles. Peyron’s choice to stay to the north has paid off just now, his gains earned by virtue of stronger, more settled winds while those who strayed south have had spells of lighter winds and a big residual seas to contend with as they flirt with a moving high pressure system. Sébastien Josse, (BT), consistent as ever, has stuck in second place, while Armel Le Cléac´h chose the north as well and has risen to fourth from ninth last night.

Vendee Globe

Vendee Globe

Peyron is one of the seven skippers who have now lead this Vendée Globe race, this morning’s swap from Eliès is the twentieth lead change in 26 days of racing. This afternoon the head of the field has stretched now with 172 miles from Peyron to tenth placed Michel Desjoyeaux, and Jean-Pierre Dick’s dive to the south on Paprec-Virbac 2 sees him fifth now 87.8 miles behind the leader when last night he was 32 miles behind.

On Thursday evening, Sébastien Josse (BT) was in the lead in the
Vendee Globe, before handing over the reins to Yann Eliès (Generali, 7th different leader) at 5h this morning, then to Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) at 11h. The differences in speed reflect the variations in the wind conditions out on the water – 15 knots for some (Peyron, Le Cléac’h) and 3 to 5 for others (Dick, Le Cam, Jourdain, Golding, Eliès) in the 11h rankings. Five hours later the leading trio was slowed to 8 knots, while behind them, they were taking off again at between 9 and 14 knots. As they are all so close at the front, these differences in speed can lead to major position changes in the rankings. However, this should not worry the competitors, as the close contact racing is far from over.

The fleet will pass the longitude of Cape Town tomorrow, In a round the world race via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and The Horn), rounding the first of these landmarks heralds the entry into the Indian Ocean, the most feared ocean on Earth because of the violence of the elements. No photo opportunities here though, as they will be leaving the Cape around 500 miles to their north (the equivalent of the length of Britain) tonight or tomorrow morning. This is therefore more of a symbolic event for the solo sailors, signifying that they are in the southern seas and the Roaring Forties. Albatrosses, grey skies and surfing conditions now make up their daily backdrop.

Some of the Vendee Globe sailors are now surfing along at 30 knots. Incredible speeds for a monohull. Welcome to the deep south… Apart from a few inhospitable islands, the next piece of land is Australia, more than 4500 miles away.

Vendee Globe Rankings

Updated December 5 2008 – See updated Vendee Globe rankings here: Vendée Globe

  1. Loick Peyron, Gitana Eighty
  2. Sébastien Josse – BT
  3. Yann Eliès – Generali
  4. Armel Le Cléac´h – Brit Air
  5. Jean-Pierre Dick, Paprec Virbac 2
  6. Vincent Riou, PRB
  7. Jean Le Cam – VM Matériaux
  8. Mike Golding, Ecover 3
  9. Roland Jourdain – Veolia Environnement
  10. Michel DesjoyeauxFoncia
  11. Marc Guillemont – Safran
  12. Dominique Wavre – Temenos
  13. Brian ThompsonPindar
  14. Samantha DaviesRoxy
  15. Bernard Stamm – Cheminées Poujoulat
  16. Dee CaffariAviva
  17. Arnaud Boissières – Akena Vérandas
  18. Steve WhiteToe in the Water (Spirit of Weymouth)
  19. Jonny Malbon – Artemis
  20. Rich WilsonGreat American III
  21. Unai Basurko – Pakea Bizkaia
  22. Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty – Maisonneuve
  23. Derek Hatfield – Algimouss Spirit of Canada
  24. Raphaël Dinelli – Fondation Océan Vital
  25. Norbert Sedlacek – Nauticsport-Kapsch



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