Briton Sam Davies moves up to seventh place despite rudder problems

Britain’s Sam Davies – top international skipper – is now in seventh place chasing French race leaders, despite reporting that an impact had kicked up one of her rudders on Roxy last night.

Davies, has remained much the same distance behind Paprec-Virbac overnight, after having replaced the ‘fuse’ in her rudder yesterday evening after Roxy hit “something small but solid'”

Racing with the benefit of better weather conditions Michel Desjoyeuax and Roland Jourdain are driving a bigger wedge between themselves and trio of boats that are in pursuit. Jean Le Cam in third saw his deficit rise by more than fifty miles overnight, while Vincent Riou and Armel Le Cléac’h lost more than 100 miles.

The plot is well known, as the leaders reap the benefit of riding a different weather system that the pursuers can’t stay with, but it is one predicted on Sunday by Jean Le Cam.

Michel Desjoyeaux and Roland Jourdain are taking advantage of a different weather system from their rivals to extend their lead. During the night they were averaging 4 to 7 knots more than the next three. In two days Le Cam has lost 150 miles and is now 337 miles from the leader, and the situation is worse still for Vincent Riou (PRB) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air), who have conceded more than 100 miles overnight and 240 and 300 miles in 48 hours

These gaps are likely to increase still further during the day. Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement), the fastest of the 16-boat fleet this morning was averaging 19.1 knots, some 7 knots faster than Le Cam. And overnight Jourdain – 50 miles to the south of Foncia’s track – has not just lived with Desjoyeaux, but in fact has taken about 10 miles out of the leader, making 439 miles over the last 24h.

In sixth place, Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2) must be pleased to have gybed during the night, as this should allow him to take another look at his starboard rudder. Dick is putting a brave face on it, but admits his repaired rudder system requires consistent love and care.

He is still content to be in the race, but the Nicois skipper – who won the Barcelona World Race and worked tirelessly to maximize the reliability of his Farr design which was built in New Zealand – must be frustrated to be in sixth, back in the same position as he finished the 2004 race.

Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar), Arnaud Boissières (Akena Verandas) and Dee Caffari (Aviva) all crossed back into the western hemisphere last night, whilst Steve White (Toe in the Water) is relishing some more settled weather conditions, preparing to his two big jobs on board – stabilizing his broken gooseneck, and re-securing his generator.

Jonny Malbon (Artemis II) and Rich Wilson (Great American III) may have felt they were due the respite they expected, but they have been forced to work extremely hard with very inconsistent winds, rapidly changing between 20 and 45 knots.

5,000 miles behind the leader, Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport Kapsch) and Raphaël Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) are about to cross the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, exactly two weeks after Michel Desjoyeaux.

Vendee Globe Positions – 0400 GMT 30 December

1. Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) at 9397.4 miles
2. Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) at 73.6 miles
3. Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux) at 337.7 miles
4. Vincent Riou (PRB) at 641.1 miles
5. Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) at 687.7 miles

Selected International

7. Sam Davies, GBR, (ROXY) at 1617.2 miles
9. Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) at 2266.7 miles
10. Dee Caffari, GBR, (AVIVA) at 2349
12. Steve White, GBR, (Toe in the Water) at 2994.3 miles
13. Johnny Malbon, GBR, (Artemis) at 3866.9 miles
14. Rich Wilson, USA, (Great American III) at 3952.9 miles
15. Norbert Sedlacek, AUT, (Nauticsport.Kapsch) 4912 miles