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the first first

The complicated weather patterns of the first week, not least the high proportion of upwind sailing and multiple frontal systems, put to rest any hopes of the Vendée Globe’s 9 days 7 hours and 02 minutes passage record between Les Sables d’Olonne and the Equator being broken.

Nevertheless it was the record holder himself Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS) who crossed the equator first into the South Atlantic at 1319hrs UTC, leading the fleet this Wednesday afternoon with around 79 miles in hand over second placed Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut).

The British skipper’s elapsed time to the Equator on this race is 9 days 23 hours and 59 minutes. His routing since the start on Sunday 8th has been excellent and his passage through the storm Theta, which gave him this lead, has been met with widespread approval among past Vendée Globe winners.

As he passed through the 350 nautical miles convergence zone, Thomson experienced shifts and changes in wind pressure and had a notable slow down last night, but this morning he was well into the SE’ly tradewinds, the bow of his black boat pointing towards Recife, the most easterly corner of Brazil. Today he has been making 18 knots of boatspeed with the wind forward of the beam, likely under full main and J2 headsail.

More here.