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Buffer effect

There has been considerable stalling amongst the leaders overnight. For now the ranking remains unaltered, however the deficits have shrunk dramatically!

Copyright : Benoit Stichelbaut / Sea & Co
Copyright : Benoit Stichelbaut / Sea & Co

The compression forecast yesterday has certainly come into effect! The top 5 IMOCA 60s are now bunched within 30 miles or so of each other in relation to the direct route to Itajaï (Brazil), compared with over 100 yesterday.

The leaders who opted for a route slightly to the east of their pursuers, namely François Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux (MACIF), appeared to have initially suffered a little from this trajectory, losing their grip on first place overnight to the benefit of the crew on PRB (Vincent Riou & Jean Le Cam), she in turn caught up by Maitre CoQ (Jérémie Beyou & Christopher Pratt) and Safran (Marc Guillemot & Pascal Bidegorry).

Around twenty miles or so further to the west, Cheminées Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm & Philippe Legros) has made a great comeback too. Indeed the latter has racked up an average speed in excess of 16 knots over the past 24 hours, compared with 13 for Macif, which has begun to accelerate again this morning, just snatching back pole position ahead of PRB (just 5 miles...).

It now remains to be seen who will be the first to escape this zone where the tradewinds of the northern and southern hemisphere collide... This won’t yet be a consideration for Louis Burton and Guillaume Le Brec (Bureau Vallée), some 260 miles from the Doldrums, who are settled nicely into 6th place some 90 miles ahead of Bertrand De Broc and Arnaud Boissières (Votre Nom Autour du Monde).

For the ‘international’ group, headed by Zbigniew “Gutek” Gutkowski and Maciej “Magic” Marczewski (Energa), and followed by Team Plastique (Alessandro Di Benedetto & Alberto Monaco) and Initiatives-Cœur (Tanguy Delamotte & François Damiens), their passage to the west of the Cape Verde archipelago appears to be going without a hitch at an average speed of 12 knots.

Christophe Favreau

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