After passing Cape Horn last night just 1 hour and 15 minutes apart Vendée Globe leaders François Gabart (Macif) and Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) chose to exit the worst of the ice danger zone by passing through the Le Maire Straits, gybing through the 16 miles wide gap between Tierra del Fuego and Staten Island. In third place Jean-Pierre Dick is expected at Cape Horn during tonight.
Although it was the younger skipper, François Gabart, who broke the longitude of Cape Horn last night at 18:20hrs UTC, it was Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) who broke the silence first, revealing the stress of passing Cape Horn in challenging visibility with the ever present threat of ice. Deliverance is the word used most often to describe a safe passage of the Horn and Le Cléac'h chose wisely.
"When we have all this ice around it makes it much more difficult. We have 150 complicated miles with icebergs on the course. And when night comes it will more difficult. Once we are past Staten Island we will be back to simpler sailing conditions," said
Le Cléac'h whose second solo passage of the greatest cape it was, passing at 19:35hrs five miles further offshore than his rival Gabart.
Whilst Gabart and Le Cleac'h made headway, there was some bad news for Bernard Stamm on Cheminees Poujoulat.
The International Jury, which is independent from the Vendée Globe Race Directors, the Race Committee and the organizers of the Vendée Globe, have taken the decision to disqualify Bernard Stamm (SUI, Cheminées Poujoulat) for an infringement of article 3.2 of the Notice of Race. Following the skipper's pit stop on 23 December south of Enderby Island (Auckland Islands, NZ) to repair his hydrogenerators, the Race Committee lodged a protest against Cheminées Poujoulat for receiving assistance.
Bernard Stamm has 24 hours (in other words until Thursday morning) since being notified of the decision to request the jury re-examine his case, as laid down in race rule 66, and will have to state his reasons with new information. If no request is forthcoming at the end of this time period, the decision will stand. The Race Committee also has the same possibility to reopen the case.
The other competitors in the race also have the right to ask for redress within 6 hours of being informed of the decision, if they consider they are affected by the jury's decision.
Read more on the disqualification here
Vendee Globe Website