Vendée leader Michel Desjoyeaux rounds Cape Horn after 56 days and 15 hours of racing

At 03:10 GMT this morning (5 January) leader Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) rounded Cape Horn after 56 days, 15 hours and 08 minutes of racing – slightly faster than the time taken in 2004 (56d 17h 13′), even though the ’08/09 route was extended by 1200 miles. Foncia is the first boat to exit the Pacific and enter the Atlantic Ocean and begin the final climb north to the finish line.

Desjoyeaux passed just a couple of miles off the coast of the landmark, reporting squalls of 35 to 40 knots, at around midnight Chilean time. However, on rounding the tip of South America Foncia is experiencing flatter seas. After a strong NW’ly wind this weekend, the leaders are being greeted by a 20-25 knot westerly, likely to ease further as a high pressure zone develops off the tip of Patagonia.

Desjoyeaux is now 120 miles ahead of second placed Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environment). Jourdain is currently about 80 miles away from the Cape, and expects to round the Horn around eight hours behind Foncia.

Behind these two leaders there has been little change. The closely matched pair of Vincent Riou (PRB) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) are now just 14 miles apart on this morning’s rankings, with a 20-mile lateral separation.

Briton Sam Davies (Roxy) continues to hold a 300-mile advantage over Marc Guillemot (Safran), although Safran has recently picked up high speeds to become the fastest boat overnight – averaging over 16 knots since last night’s position update.

The two have also been notified of the redress they will receive for going to the aid of Yann Eliès. The International Jury has awarded 82 hours to Marc Guillemot as redress, while Sam Davies receives 32. With a gap to the next boat – Brit Air – of 1,300 miles for Sam and more than 1,700 miles for Marc this is unlikely to change the hierarchy. However, if Guillemot decides to stop to make repairs to his main he will have to keep an eye on Sam, as he is currently 300 miles behind her, which represents about half of the redress time he now has in the bank.

Further back, 11th placed Steve White (Toe in the Water) has been making good progress at around 15 knots to gain a little ground on the duo of Arnaud Boissieries (Akena Vérandas) and Dee Caffari (Aviva) in ninth and tenth.

Rich Wilson (Great American III) is set to become the next boat to cross the International Date Line, and is currently around 80 miles away from the Greenwich Meridian.

Sébastien Josse on the retired BT is also making good progress to Auckland, currently around 100 miles away he is expected to arrive in New Zealand later today.

Vendee Globe rankings – 05:00 GMT

1. Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) at 7017.4 miles to finish
2. Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) at 120.4 miles
3. Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux) at 481.9 miles
4. Vincent Riou (PRB) 713.4 miles
5. Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) 727 miles
6. Sam Davies, GBR, (ROXY) at 2108.7 miles