As the Vendee Globe leaders pass the remote Azores archipelago the wearied top three skippers are starting to explore their own different strategic options as they begin the final 1,000 nautical miles (nm) of the solo non stop around the world race.
Furthest north and now leading by a margin of just five nautical miles (at 1100 UTC today) Louis Burton passed between the islands of San Miguel and Santa Maria which he will have seen to starboard around sunrise.
The Bureau Vallée 2 skipper has been enjoying winds of around 20 knots which has meant that he has consistently been maintaining speeds of around 18 knots. That’s more than a knot and a half more than second placed Charlie Dalin who has been itching to gybe in order to get on to his starboard foil in order to be able to sail his boat closer to its full potential.
Meantime in third place Boris Herrmann had been tracking Dalin closely – perhaps viewing him as his key rival and so trying to stay closest to him in the knowledge that he has six hours of compensated time from his involvement in the search for Kevin Escoffier – but more recently has gybed to the north, perhaps wanting to match the move of fourth placed Thomas Ruyant.
At 1100 UTC Burton was leading the race by five miles from Dalin in second with Herrmann a further 10 nm back in third.