Less than a mile separates the top two boats

At the 1000 GMT ranking today, Vincent Riou (PRB) has taken the lead just 0.5 miles ahead of Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle), the dastardly duo in sight of each other with an advance of nearly 300 miles on their pursuers, Sébastien Josse (VMI) and Roland Jourdain (Sill et Véolia) also crossing each others path 277.2 and 288.5 miles behind this morning.

Mike Golding (Ecover) and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) are continuing to flounder in the high pressure of Saint Helena making 3.1 and 4.3 knots of boat speed over the past half hour, 220 miles separating the latter compatriots from each other. Behind Conrad Humphreys is really putting the pressure on Thomson, just 10 miles behind. The leaders have covered the first quarter of the course today with 6000 miles in their wake. The atmosphere on the Vendée Globe racetrack has rarely been as intense. The leading duo are currently sailing under gennaker in a good west south-westerly breeze generated by a cold front ahead of them giving them good seas. The figures speak for themselves with the Le Cam and Riou racking up a further 20-mile lead on their pursuers in the past 4 hours.

Sébastien Josse (VMI) has gained a little ground after a slightly more easterly course than Roland Jourdain (Sill et Veolia). Jourdain is now 18 miles south-west of his adversary, both now free of the clutches of the anticyclone in west south-westerlies but clearly in a different weather system than those ahead. The leaders are likely to remain in this extremely favourable position in meteorological terms for a long time, thus opening up their lead further.

As regards the Anglo-Saxons Mike Golding (Ecover) and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), these two are still suffering in the Saint Helena high. Conrad Humphreys on Hellomoto is right on the latter’s tail managing to keep in a little more wind pressure to pull out 45.9 miles on Proform. Skandia is currently struggling in 4 knots of breeze from the north. Nick Moloney is managing only to snatch a couple of brief naps through being too anxious to get out of the windless zone in which they are currently sailing. Above him the skies are blue and pleasant.

Rankings as of Friday, November 26, 2004 – 10h00 GMT (11:00 AM FR)

1 PRB Vincent Riou 32 25.88′ S 14 34.80′ W

2 Bonduelle Jean Le Cam 32 24.32′ S 14 42.56′ W 0.5 miles from leader

3 VMI Sébastien Josse 29 40.08′ S 18 54.56′ W 277.2 from leader

4 Sill Véolia Roland Jourdain 29 43.28′ S 19 14.84′ W 288.5 from leader

5 Ecover Mike Golding 28 47.28′ S 20 48.84′ W 387.3 from leader

6 Hugo Boss Alex Thomson 30 01.96′ S 27 17.56′ W 607.7 from leader

7 Hellomoto Conrad Humphreys 26 48.72′ S 24 36.16′ W 617.0 from leader

8 Pro-Form Marc Thiercelin 26 06.00′ S 25 02.44′ W 662.9 from leader

9 Virbac-Paprec Jean-Pierre Dick 27 08.28′ S 26 29.20′ W 679.3 from leader

10 Temenos Dominique Wavre 26 47.04′ S 26 17.96′ W 687.0 from leader

11 Skandia Nick Moloney 25 49.36′ S 26 11.96′ W 720.7 from leader

12 UUDS Hervé Laurent 27 30.36′ S 28 08.40′ W 735.2 from leader

13 Ocean Planet Bruce Schwab 24 42.56′ S 29 51.56′ W 914.0 from leader

14 AKENA Vérandas Raphaël Dinelli 19 54.16′ S 28 09.84′ W 1045.4 from leader

15 ROXY Anne Liardet 17 43.48′ S 29 08.28′ W 1175.4 from leader

16 Max Havelaar / Best Western Benoît Parnaudeau 18 17.40′ S 31 09.28′ W 1232.6 from leader

17 Benefic Karen Leibovici 17 51.64′ S 31 18.40′ W 1257.2 from leader

18 Brother Norbert Sedlacek 8 39.40′ S 29 11.28′ W 1600.6 from leader