Highest placed British yachtsman Mike Golding climbs to sixth position

The ascent of British yachtsman Mike Golding (Ecover 3) up the Vendée Globe leader board continues as he moves up to sixth place, less than two miles adrift of fifth placed Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air). Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) has a lead of less than 30 miles, but it is his eleventh day at the top of the fleet. Second placed Brit Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar) now lies tenth.

Since Friday evening – lying tenth – Mike Golding has made steady gains and has shown good speed to rise to sixth in this morning’s Vendée Globe rankings. He is now seemingly poised to attack the elite top five, which has not changed for the last five days.

Making a net gain of nearly 14 miles on leader Loïck Peyron, Golding’s position – which is slightly west of the leading pack – and his speed have helped him rise to within two miles of Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) this morning. Mike has again been quickest over the last 24 hours.

After passing Dominique Wavre of Switzerland (Temenos II) yesterday evening, Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar) has moved into the top ten – partly due to Jérémie Beyou’s detour to Salvador de Bahia after damage to his spreaders.

Wavre is increasingly under threat from the progress of Marc Guillemot (Safran) who has been second quickest overnight, and is 12 miles behind the Swiss skipper.

Read blogs from the boats?.

Sam Davies (Roxy):

“Hello everyone!”

“Now Roxy and I, like the rest of the fleet, are bouncing along upwind in the S Atlantic SE trade winds. Life is now existing at an angle of 30 degrees, on port tack, meaning that my right leg will soon be longer than my left one, added in with a few bumps as we are on ‘rough terrain’! Doing anything requires care, and I have been likening this to my skiing trips in Avoriaz, when I frequently find myself prostrate across a steep incline! The top tip is :’bend the knees’ , ‘stand across the slope’ and ‘always keep the weight on the downhill ski.’ It seems to work here too!”

“The wind is fairly stable, and the angle means that there is relatively little to be done to keep Roxy going fast – a few changes of sail trim, and occasionally a change from Solent to staysail or vice versa. This has meant that I can catch up on some sleep and rest. I have also done some morev weather study, and today I organised my i-tunes a bit better!”

Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia):

“It’s true that if you don’t like leaning over all the time, you shouldn’t be in a monohull. If you like surfing along the waves, you need to be patient when heading upwind. We’re all a bit dumb really. We haven’t invented anything to speed it up mechanically. We carry on with our seal skins, although you could say I suppose we were taking advantage of nature, like here when we sail upwind for five days or even a week on one tack. When I think that looking back to past Vendée Globes, people said that to win the Vendée, you had to go fast in the south and upwind sailing didn’t matter. Darwin was right. It’s the survival of the fittest – the one who can best adapt. Enjoy your night lying flat in your bed.”

Steve White (Toe in the Water):

As of two hours ago, my writers block (not that you could call me a writer!) has been lifted as I have been released from the Doldrums. I thought initially that perhaps I’d escaped punishment, but it was not so. At one point I was trapped under a cloud that filled a 24 mile range radar screen – and boy, did it rain! It was almost Biblical. We just sat in the midst of it with the sails banging and slatting back and forth, which is a sailor’s Chinese water torture, with the rain bucketing down.”

“That was the largest of many clouds, but there were very many equally frustrating ones, sometimes with wind in them, and sometimes only with wind at the edges, and nothing but torrential rain and no wind at all in the centre. There were gusts, but never that big, up to about 20 knots usually, but that’s enough when you normally have a couple of reefs in and full ballast tanks by that point, and, you’ve gessed it, it can blow from any direction. It changes direction so frequently that I often had to look at the wind direction from the instuments and make funny angles with my hands to work out which tack I should be on to get me best to where I wanted to go! At some points I was going backwards faster than I’d been going forwards for the preceeding few hours! It changed so often it can get confusing if you’re tired. It has been really frustrating, and I am not keen to come back, but it is another experience to add to the list. I often imagined what it would be like to come through here in a square rigger. You can see how they got stuck here for weeks, sooner them than me…….”

“Now we are moving again we can settle into catching up with the boats in front, which is going to be a tall order, but If I don’t loose any more miles I shall be happy! Brian called up. He was very well and quite chatty, and it was really good to talk to someone else in the race. He said it was lovely a bit further on, and the sailing was easy – I am looking forward to it!”

0500GMT (24 November) Boat Positions:

1 Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) 20686.1 miles to the finish
2 Seb Josse (BT) at 29.6 miles to leader
3 Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2) at 40.2 miles to leader
4 Vincent Riou (PRB) at 59.9 miles to leader
5 Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) at 62.4 miles r

Selected International

6 Mike Golding, GBR, (ECOVER 3) at 64.2 miles
10 Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) at 220.6 miles
11 Dominique Wavre, SUI, (Temenos 2) at 221.8 miles
13 Sam Davies, GBR,(ROXY) at 276.7 miles
16 Dee Caffari, GBR, (AVIVA) at 453.5 miles
18 Unai Basurko, ESP, (Pakea Bizkaia) at 570.9 miles
19 Steve White, GBR, (Toe in the Water) at 617.2 miles
20 Johnny Malbon, GBR, (Artemis) at 638.1 miles
21 Rich Wilson, USA, (Great America III) at 702.7 miles
23 Bernard Stamm, SUI, (Cheminées Poujoulat) at 913.3 miles
24 Norbert Sedlacek, AUT, (Nauticsport-Kapsch) at 1045.8 miles
25 Derek Hatfield, CAN, (Algimouss Spirit of Canada) at 1447.8 miles