Lighter winds and slower speeds for those at the head of the Vendée Globe fleet

While Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2) resumes a more southerly course (now down to 49’28) and well into ice territory, there has been a small gain on the more northerly course to Seb Josse (BT) who climbs back into the top three to lie second – 37.9 miles behind Jean-Pierre who has now lead for two days.

Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) remains very much in touch and is just 2.6 miles behind Josse on the standings, while fourth placed Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) has eased another 11 miles clear of fifth placed Mike Golding (Ecover 3, pictured) during the night period.

As the breeze eases and become less settled in direction, the chasing pack are given the chance to gain after incurring bigger deficits over the last two to three days. Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) has been working hard at setting his Farr design up for the 30 knots conditions. He passed the Kerguelen Ice Gate last night at about 23:00 GMT, reporting this morning:

“The wind has now strengthened considerably. First there were just 30-knot gusts with a steady 18-20 knots. Not easy to get sails just right, especially downwind. At daybreak, at around 3h UTC, the wind had strengthened to a steady 30 knots and came around, so now I’m close reaching. Just changed the sails again, but don’t think it will last. Managed to get some sleep between manoeuvres. Going back to bed now.”

The Swiss skipper has ten miles to make up to steal Sam Davies’s (Roxy) 15th place, but Sam is clearly not ready to give her long held place up easily and this morning was showing the highest one hour average speed of the fleet on the double Vendée Globe winning Finot-Conq design.

How close are those in the south running to known, tracked ice? Stamm passed about 30 miles north of ice this morning which is north of the track taken by Dick a couple of days ago.

The computers are working on the weather models; as everyone knows a few moments of calm could be those vital moments, when you find the best route. Let us not forget either the pack charging from behind again.

At the front, Jean-Pierre Dick is preparing to drop ‘Joséphine’ in the Indian Ocean. ‘Joséphine’ is the first Argos beacon to be thrown into the sea allowing the study of the flows around the poles. An operation run by the French National Space Agency; which will be used for educational purposes in the classroom. Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas), then Dominique Wavre (Temenos) will be repeating the operation off the Kerguelens and then after rounding the Horn.