Davies Dismasts As Cléac'h Takes The Lead.
While Samantha Davies announced her dismasting to the race office last night, Armel Le Cleac'h, (Banque Populaire) took the lead from François Gabart. But for all the skippers in the top 11 the conditions are much more comfortable than at the back of the fleet.
With Gabart, the leader since the first night on Saturday, forced to reposition himself west by a ridge of high pressure, Le Cléac'h passed him at 23:00hrs (UTC) on Thursday. He leads by only 4.7 miles, Gabart is just to the east and Bernard Stamm is 11 miles directly behind Le Cléac'h in third. Le Cléac'h's lead has already been cut from the 7.5 miles he had at the previous ranking four hours before. Both boats were making just under 11 knots, compared to Stamm's 7.6 knots as the north westerly wind has veered north and eased to 10 knots.
Alex Thomson continues to close the gap in fourth place and is just 65 miles behind the leader now, with a 12-mile lead over Jean-Pierre Dick. Vincent Riou keeps losing out on the west and slipped back to seventh behind Jérémie Beyou. But in the last hour Riou's speed has been the highest of the top 12 boats at 12 knots, so he may press back.
On Thursday evening Davies reported her dismasting to the race office of the Vendée Globe and her team. At the time of the incident, Davies was inside the boat going downwind on starboard tack in a squall with 35 knots of wind and with a very confused sea state. While she was preparing to go out on deck to take in a third reef, she heard a noise and felt the mast come down on port. In the conditions, she could not respond immediately and cut the rigging, so she made herself safe inside the boat in her survival suit and waited for a drop in the wind.
Around 01:30, Davies began to release Savéol's rig by cutting the wires, sheets and halyards. It was a successful operation. At dawn, Davies will carry out a check of the boat before starting the engine and heading to Madeira. Currently, conditions are calmer at around 20 knots. Davies has been resting and is doing well.
Vendee Globe Website