The big losses which Vendée Globe leader Armel Le Cléac’h has suffered over recent days to the British skipper Alex Thomson have stabilised today but the French solo racer who has topped the solo round the world race since December 3rd seems set to come under more pressure from his pursuer in the coming days.
A wide swathe of lighter, variable winds blocks the northwards climb up the South Atlantic. Some weather routing models have the two leading skippers racing at the same latitude at the weekend.
After making a net gain of some five miles during this Wednesday afternoon, Thomson was 269 nautical miles behind on the 1700hrs UTC ranking.
While the leaders’ problems in the South Atlantic are largely about the mental stress of routing through a network of light airs and transition zones, New Zealand skipper Conrad Colman has been forced to push his Foresight Natural Energy close to the limit to stay ahead of a ‘terrifying’ low pressure system.
D52 : Rough conditions for Conrad Colman… di VendeeGlobeTV
And one thousand or so miles to Colman’s west, Ireland’s Enda O’Coineen has had to take the prudent, but tough decision, to turn back north and separate away from the six strong pack of boats he had been racing closely with, playing tag with the back of that same depression. O’Coineen is diverting to Stewart Island, just off the tip of South Island New Zealand in order to make repairs and continue his race.