On the evening rankings at 1800hrs UTC Armel Le Cleac'h has moved clear ahead of Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss. The British skipper waited for the mid afternoon position report to drop before gybing to the east, in theory away from the approaching high pressure ridge and therefore seeking to stay in stronger breeze. He may have given up his lead but he is going quicker than Banque Populaire. The leaders are expected to stay close to the Portuguese coast as they descend south.
The Traffic Separation Scheme meant a choice was necessary about whether to stay close to the coast or sail a long way offshore. The majority are choosing the easterly option, but this requires lots of gybes and is therefore very tiring. On the other hand, Kojiro Shiraishi has headed further west and looks like avoiding the TSS via the outside.
There is no choice for the fleet but to cross the ridge of high pressure off Cape St Vincent. For around 20 hours they can expect a gentle 8-knot NW’ly. The wind will then pick up again veering NE’ly to take them all the way to the Doldrums. The leaders are expected to pass the Canaries on Wednesday.
There is already 170 miles between the first places and 28th placed Sebastien Destremau on his FaceOcean Techno First.
This evening Destremau reported:
"We are going well under the J2 and full main. I should really get the A7 kite out but I am taking it easy. Amazing to think we are starting a round the world race. It was an emotional send off from Les Sables d'Olonne. The channel, family, friends, the start. These are great moments to live through. Doing something with a knife I cut my finger quite deeply. I stuck it with steri strips after disinfecting it well. After dressing it well I have made a cheese omelette with onions. It was top! I am wondering if i need to stitch my finger, but I think I'll wait and see how it closes." (www.vendeeglobe.org)