Mike Golding sailing Ecover has, this morning, taken second place in the Vendee Globe and is now just 4.6m from new leader Vincent Riou

Mike Golding sailing Ecover has, this morning, taken second place in the Vendee Globe and is now just 4.6m from new leader Vincent Riou.

Jean Le Cam’s decision to head off to the east while leading is still punishing him. He now is 14.7 miles behind Vincent Riou and 10.1 miles behind Mike Golding.

Le Cam (Bonduelle) had lost the lead in this morning’s 4 am rankings. By 10 O’clock the trend had been confirmed, and the decision to head off from the theoretical route seems to be costing him dearly.But his decision to lose ground today, is in order to do better tomorrow.

Golding continues to achieve the best average speed over 24 hours. He is the fastest of the three today, having covered 214 miles in 24 hours, in comparison to 135 for Le Cam (Bonduelle) and 183 for Riou.

Further down the fleet, but still a threat are Sébastien Josse (VMI) and Dominique Wavre (Temenos) who are currently benefiting from a strong south westerly flow. The most recent reports showed that Wavre averaged 15.4 knots over half an hour, and covered 305 miles in 24 hours, making him the fastest in the fleet. Josse however, will suffer a few transition zones where he would need to carry his unusable gennaker (broken jib boom) in the light airs.

As for Jean-Pierre Dick, he has started the repair work on his boom, while Benoît Parnaudeau is suffering in light airs between two weather systems. Dick is currently 650 miles from the Horn and is averaging 8 knots with just a foresail. At this speed, the DIY expert should round the final cape before turning left in three or four days.

Contacted by his shore team this morning, Dick explained: “I’ve started to cut the boom on each side, as it’s difficult to cut straight through a cone shape. I’m going to have to adjust that later. The idea behind the repair isn’t difficult, but in practice it is. For the moment, there isn’t much wind, with 3-metre waves, so I’m being shaken around! It’s stressful, because I’m having to cope with the waves and carry out some precise work. It’s like operating on an animal in a dodgem car.

“I take a nap after each stage, because it’s tiring. It may last two days or four depending on the weather, as I’ll need a bright period without rain to stick the two pieces together. It’s difficult, but I’ll manage it.”

Nick Moloney (Skandia) and Joé Seeten (Areclor Dunkerque) are going to take advantage some real Deep South conditions. A low in the south for one, ahead for the other, they are both on a fast conveyor belt, which is not running smoothly.

Once Moloney will be having more wind today and he is hesitating to move south. Soon, he will have to do just that, as he is currently at 47 degrees S, while Joé is at 50 degrees S. The Horn is at 56 degrees S. That’s why Seeten should catch up the Australian fairly soon.

The French sailor is more or less on direct course, while Moloney is going to have to turn right at some point. Behind, a new low is creeping up on Bruce Schwab (Ocean Planet) and Conrad Humphreys (Hellomoto) from their north-west and Benoît Parnaudeau (Max Havelaar/Best Western) is suffering in light airs between the two weather systems.

Finally, at the rear of the fleet, Anne Liardet (Roxy), Raphaël Dinelli (Akena Vérandas) and Karen Leibovici (Benefic) should finally be discovering the Pacific surf. A low-pressure area is arriving and will stick with them. They are finally going to be able to step up the speed and see what surfing is all about.