Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) has a 16.3-mile lead over Vincent Riou (PRB) this morning

Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) has a 16.3 mile lead over Vincent Riou (PRB) this morning. Sébastien Josse (VMI), 3rd, is 269 miles behind. With Mike Golding (Ecover) the foursome are tacking in 20 knots east-south-easterly winds.

This entrance into the Pacific Ocean will see their lead over the frontrunners in the last Vendée Globe melt away. The rear guard are beginning to reap the benefits of this situation and is snatching back handfuls of miles on the top four. The leaders are currently 110 miles south-east of the little island of Campbell, 960 miles from the most westerly tip of the next gateway, 3 600 miles from Cape Horn. There are four skippers tacking their way upwind across the Pacific, a place where logically, they should be gliding under the beneficial effects of the depression sweeping the Pacific Ocean, benefiting from a better ordered swell than that encountered in the Indian Ocean. But no, over the past 24 hours they have only been able to snatch little handfuls of 170 miles at an average of 7 knots boat speed along the route, the boat heeled over and bouncing. Suffice to say that their lead of four/five days over the performance in the previous Vendée Globe is melting away.

To add insult to injury the skippers are currently gliding along at 54° south, where a very northerly depression generating these famous headwinds, has absolutely no intention of moving anywhere fast. As a result the head of the fleet are going to be greeted by prevailing easterlies for at least three more days.

Another important factor is a zone containing 15 icebergs reported to the east of Campbell Island by the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre. Vincent Riou (PRB), the furthest north of the leading group, is 213 miles from this zone at north-east of him at 74°. Vincent should definitely tack again this morning. Solely Mike Golding (Ecover) had not tacked earlier this morning, while Vincent Riou (PRB), Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) and Sébastien Josse (VMI) are all bound towards the north-east.

Behind them, the chasing pack are benefiting from downwind conditions which they are using to try and make up some of their miles on the leaders. Joé Seeten (Arcelor Dunkerque) has racked up the best distance over 24 hours having covered 309 miles at an average speed of 12.9 knots, double that of Vincent Riou (PRB) at the same time. As for the second half of the ranking, there are still eight to pass the longitude of Cape Leeuwin. Patrice Carpentier (VM Matériaux) and Joé Seeten (Arcelor Dunkerque) will tomorrow be the next ‘Australians’ of the race.

The race is spread across 3,480 miles, from Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) to Karen Leibovici (Benefic) who is currently off the Kerguelen islands.