On the brink of week 4 and after having the same leader for the past few weeks Alex Thomson’s briefly allowed Armel Le Cléac’h into the lead before stealing it straight back.

With his lead of 100nm being gradually eaten away by Le Cléac’h Thomson has been waiting in the lighter winds to gybe onto starboard so he can get his intact port foil working.

The two boats are now engaged in a close match race as they enter the Indian Ocean and week 4 of the Vendee Globe. Down at 42° they have for the first time been slowed by light winds. This is the roaring forties and the usually this would be where the sleigh ride of to Cap Horn would start. After Thomson and the front of the fleet have smashed every every record getting down the Atlantic with a new reference time to the Longitude of the Cape of Good Hope they have come to a pretty sharp halt as they have sailed into a area of unusually light winds.

As discussed in a previous post they would have, in past years, dived south in search of wind but the virtual Ice Wall (red dotted line in image below) stops them. So the only way they can go is north but there is no wind there. They are still sailing downwind but are going to suffer light and variable winds for the next day or so as they wait for the low that Sebastien Josse is currently riding to catch them up. Daily runs have dropped from 450+ to 258 for Thomson. This will give Josse a chance to close the 300 mile gap that has opened up. The rest of the fleet are way behind this still with 4th place SMA 830nm behind.

Interestingly some news outlets are reporting that Thomson has a new Starboard foil onboard and is just waiting for the right moment to remove the stump and replace it with the new one. It has also been pointed out by some that there has been no pictures of the broken foil. They are suggestion that the skipper of Hugo Boss is being economical with the truth about how damaged it is. This would be no surprise as while the sailors will go to hell and back to help a competitor in need, whilst the race is on a little sportsmanship is par for the course.

Vendee Tracker day 20 0400UTC

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