Typically in sailing there comes a time when the forecast says one thing but mother nature does another. At the 17:00 report of the 2016 Vendee Globe it looked as though Brit Alex Thomson had stolen a march on his fellow competitors and squeezed through the narrowest of corridors in the doldrums. In fact Alex himself released a Vlog last night where he relayed how happy he was to be out of the “mess” and looking toward the south east trades.
However through the night it became obvious on the tracker that Hugo Boss had slowed up considerable against the other boats and at least to PRB and Banque Populaire there had been some compression. Behind those two boats the others have had a real fight on their hands to stay in the hunt.
At the 0400UTC report Boss was down to 65nm ahead. Still very significant. There are however a couple of reasons why Boss could be going slower.
They could have been in less wind. But more likely is the design of the yacht itself.
The New Foiling wings that these boats carry are much more horizontal on Hugo Boss than the other boats.
This gives them much more lift in the conditions that they have been sailing in but are no help at all when the boats speed drops to below 10kts. Watch the excellent dailysail interview at the end of this post to find out more.
By the 0800UTC report the dust had somewhat settled and the lead was steady at about 60nm over the second 2 boats. It looks as though they all had a good passage as well. I expect Thomson’s lead to grow over the next 24 hours as he arrives into the increasing wind first.