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Le Cléac’h climbs and leaders compress

November 25, 2008 @ 20:43:11   Foto Photos by Aviva Ocean Racing / Mike Golding - Ecover

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The pace of the leading group has eased slightly, and second-placed Seb Josse has crept to within 13 miles of leader Loïck Peyron, while the hunting pack of Le Cléac’h, Jean-Pierre Dick and Vincent Riou have also gained a few miles on the front runner.

Keeping the pedal to the floor is proving key, and Armel Le Cléac’h, just to the east of fifth-placed Vincent Riou, has jumped up into third place by putting in the quickest VMG of the fleet over the past five hours. By contrast Mike Golding (GBR) has experienced some unwelcome lighter winds to the west of the pack, and has lost his sixth place back to Yann Elies.

November 25- The fleet are currently 46 hours behind the time set to the Equator by Jean Le Cam (10d 20h) four years ago, and it is difficult to see where the leaders will make up the lost time on the way to the Cape Of Good Hope — the tip of South Africa is more than 2,600 miles away (as the crow flies!), and the leaders look likely to take around 10 days to reach it. The big question now starting to play on everyone’s mind is what will the St Helena High do over the next week?

Front runner Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) is expecting to have to take the long way round, and keep heading south to avoid the high pressure zone: “We have a real barrier in front of us! For the time being, we don’t have any choice. We’re all set for the big loop but you still have to keep a constant eye on the zone of high pressure and respond quickly should the latter end up being milder!”

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2- Seb Josse (BT) at  + 28.5 miles to leader
3- Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2) at + 53 miles to leader
4- Vincent Riou (PRB) at + 62.6 miles to leader
5-Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) at + 66.7 miles
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