Ruyant Catches Thomson to Lead Vendee Globe

At sea, Nov 21 (AFP/APP): French skipper Thomas Ruyant is the new leader of the Vendee Globe after overhauling Alex Thomson after 13 days at sea in the solo round-the-world race.

Ruyant and his boat LinkedOut, which had been 16 nautical miles behind Thomson’s Hugo Boss on Friday, opened up a 23.5nm lead by 0400GMT but that had narrowed slightly to 21.7nm by Saturday’s 1100GMT briefing.

“Initially it was about getting the best angle since getting out of the doldrums and obviously I set a route but I have had a good angle and good winds all the time,” Ruyant told the organisers. “I think all the time maybe Alex has had less wind and certainly during the early part of the descent of the South Atlantic.”

Another French skipper Charlie Dalin is currently running third in Apivia, 66.7nm behind the leader. Jean Le Cam, who finished second in 2004-05, is fourth in Yes we Cam! a further 215nm back. The breakaway top trio, who are all in the new generation of ‘foilers’ — boats equipped with foils which help lift the boat so that it is virtually flying across the top of the waves — are enjoying a fast slide south eastwards towards the Southern Ocean and the Cape of Good Hope.

So far in the competition, there has only been one abandonment, that of Nicolas Troussel after a dismasting on Monday off Cape Verde. Jeremie Beyou, who had to return to the start to repair his boat Charal before setting off again on Tuesday is 3,146nm behind Ruyant. The finishers will complete approximately 24,296 nautical miles around the globe before they finish back in France at some point in January.

Standings Saturday 1100 GMT

1. Thomas Ruyant (FRA/LinkedOut) 20.073,5 nautical miles from the finish, 2. Alex Thomson (GBR/Hugo Boss) at 21.7nm, 3. Charlie Dalin (FRA/Apivia) 66.7, 4. Jean Le Cam (FRA/Yes we Cam!) 281.7, 5. Kevin Escoffier (FRA/PRB) 314.0, 6. Louis Burton (FRA/Bureau Vallee 2) 337.7, 7. Boris Herrmann (GER/Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) 379.1, 8. Yannick Bestaven (FRA/Maitre Coq IV) 392.3, 9. Sebastien Simon (FRA/Arkea-Paprec) 408.6, 10. Samantha Davies (GBR/Initiatives-Coeur) 426.2

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