With the leading boats firmly into the trades the lead pair are making gains on group 2. The freshening wind has allowed Alex Thomson to wring out more speed at a great wind angle to leap from 8th to 3rd in 1 sched. Boss’s metrics on the tracker show her traveling at 20kts, faster than all the other boats on the race track.
If anyone is going to really get the pedal to the metal in an IMOCA 60 the Alex Thomson is your man. It has often ended in disaster but in these conditions it should be a sustained period of eating into the lead of Vincent Riou and Armel Le Cleac’h. The next transition will be the Equator and the doldrums and as long as Alex is close enough he will be able to sail up behind the other 2. It can be the other way though and a puff will get the other guys away. That is sailing.
Alex confessed to a moment of madness that saw him gybing toward Portugal on Day 2. He put it down to tiredness after being awake for most of the previous 24/36. Without this course correction I feel Alex would have a clear lead and be extending every minute. That really puts you in a more powerful position.
Sleep and rest is a key area that he will need to manage in the charge down the Atlantic. With the need to keep the speed high he also must balance this with getting good rest as he will need to be really on his game when they start the approach to the Doldrums. This is about 2 days away at current pace of 420nm + per day.
Further back the pack are settling into their routines. Our two rear markers that attacked the African coast have now chosen different approaches. Peter Heerema has bottled it an chosen the western track around the Canaries. However, Enda O’Coineen has stuck to the Coast of Morocco, which for me is a super effort to try something different. He has risen to 21 and may have better wind and a better angle. He is committed that is for sure. Lets see if it pans out and he can close the gap toward the top 10.
The lanterne rouge is now back at sea. It is typical in this sort of ocean racing that the other teams rallied round to get him back on the race track. I get the feeling that if you are good enough to make it to the start line then La famille Vendée Globe think you are worth putting back to sea to complete the challenge of a solo circumnavigation