Jean-Pierre Dick sailing Paprec-Virbac continues to lead the Vendée Globe fleet today, while all the skippers prepare for a big storm which should challenge them with winds in excess of 40 knots. While he doubled his overnight lead last night – despite having to back up several times to clear week off his rudder and keel – Mike Golding trails behing JP Dick by just 10 miles today.

Michel Desjoyeaux, now up to third, is quickest of the leading trio. He alluded briefly to one or two technical problems in this morning’s abbreviated radio broadcast, but Foncia shows very competitive speeds this afternoon and early evening and of course it is always not easy to interpret what is wordplay smokescreen and what is actual fire with some of the 2001 victor’s reports.

Vendee Globe

Vendee Globe

It was as if there was a Sunday treat for the Vendée Globe pace-makers for their record breaking endeavours and continued punishment for those nearer the back of the fleet who have been battered and bruised by successive systems forcing 45-55 knot winds upon them.

While Rich Wilson, USA (Great American III), sailing in 40 knots, reported a beating in 45-50-60 knots of wind over a 16 hours period, but the barograph was dropping again on his well travelled Open 60 and he was awaiting another, while today some 2000 miles to the east, Golding and Dick reported what might otherwise have been a lazy Sunday in the Indian Ocean, 15-20 knots of westerly breeze and sunshine.

British skipper Mike Golding today paid tribute to the race the Nicois frontrunner has sailed so far, as well as admitting he has tried to slightly reduce the keel cant he has been using while preliminary discussions as to what might have happened to Dominique Wavre’s carbon keel head. Of the last two days of intense tough sailing he confirmed his new personal speed record on any Open 60 of 32 knots.

Suffering from failed rudder bearings Bernard Stamm, SUI, (Cheminées Poujoulat) has arrived in the Bay of Morbihan and was being hampered in the process of mooring up to temporary moorings laid for him by strong winds and the onset of nightfall.

Racing in the Vendée Globe does remain tight among the current second tier group, even if their margin has been stretched from the leader. Vincent Riou (PRB) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) are just seven miles apart, while there is just 22 miles between Yann Eliès (Generali) and Armel Le Cléach (Brit Air).

Riou reported that his injured ankle is still compromising him, also remarking that the amount of ice which has been reported further north, which worries the 2004 race winner most. Ice has been spotted by several of the Vendée Globe skippers including Michel and Samantha.

Vendee Globe Rankings

Updated 18:30 GMT December 14 2008- For updated ranking see: Vendée Globe Rankings

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

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