A pacific management!

Jean-Pierre Dick on Virbac Paprec3
Jean-Pierre Dick on Virbac Paprec3

The Indian Ocean was hard but no new disaster and 13 boats remain in the race. However the fleet has been split in several groups who all sail in very different meteorological systems.

The 5 first boats are now in the Pacific. Nothing unusual in the next few days with a stable wind from the West. A small depression should however change the game for the leaders around next tuesday...

The difference between Alessandro di Benedetto, North of the Kerguelen, and the 2 leaders who just left New-Zealand behind them! Last boat in the fleet, a high pressure has caught up with di Benedetto and stopped him but this afternoon, he should get back into the Indian Ocean conditions: wind from the North West, a chaotic sea, a grey sky and some violent squalls. The depressions will come one after another and push Team Plastic to Cape Leeuwun and maybe even Tasmania.

The middle road

For the 3 boats in front of him, daily life is made by down winds taking them as low as 45°S -- still good for the australian gate: Arnaud Boissières -- Akena Vérandas-- has gone way above the gate to benefit longer from the good Western winds, he's a day away from Cape Leeuwin. Bertrand de Broc -- Votre Nom Autour du Monde-- and Tanguy de Lamotte -- Initiatives Coeur -- have a long serie of gybes to position themselves in front of a new deperession coming from Madagascar arriving this weekend.

For the middle quatuor, the weekend should be breezy as well and 20 knots West - North West winds will allow Jean Le Cam --Synerciel -- Mike Golding -- Gamesa--, Dominique Wavre --Mirabaud-- and Javier Sanso --Acciona 100% EcoPowered-- to slide south in the best conditions. If they are fast, they will be able to catch another front which could take them all the way South of New-Zealand.

For the Anglo-Swiss duo who entered the Pacific on thursday, trajectories will converge whereas the Britt had chosen to go a lot more North, passing just under Tasmania. The option hasn't payed out as Bernard Stamm -- Cheminées Poujoulat -- is now in front of Alex Thomson --Hugo Boss -- and the 2 solo sailors should be very close by this weekend after they gybe to head towards New-Zealand. They have little chances to come closer to Jean-Pierre Dick -- Virbac Paprec3-- who will sail in the same conditions for the next days as well.


The leader lottery

As for François Gabart --Macif-- and Armel Le Cléac'h -- Banque Populaire -- they don't let go each other and they have been next to each other for 3 days after having gone half way around the world! No one seems to make the difference even if they respectively take the lead every once in a while. Approaching the first Pacific gate, they have to gybe a lot and a wall is forming in front of them for next week. As they will be getting closer to the West Pacific gate, which has been moved to 49°S because of ice spotted on satelite images, a small depression should force them to change their route. What will be their strategy to avoid it? it will be interesting to see who makes the move...

Rankings for Friday December 9th Noon

1-François Gabart (Macif) à 11 267,3 milles de l’arrivée

2-Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) à 4,3 milles du leader

3-Jean Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) à 575,9 milles

4-Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) à 889,5 milles

5- Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) à 891,7 milles

The 13th boats still racing

Arnaud Boissières (Akena vérandas)

Bertrand de Broc (Votre nom autour du monde avec EDM Projets)

Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives-cœur)

Alessandro di Benedetto (Team Plastique)

Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3)

François Gabart (Macif)

Mike Golding (Gamesa)

Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel)

Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire)

Javier Sanso (Acconia 100% EcoPowered)

Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat)

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss)

Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud)

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