Yachting: Le Cleac'h Holding Off Thomson As Vendee Finish Nears

Yachting: Le Cleac'h holding off Thomson as Vendee finish nears

PARIS, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 17th Jan, 2017 ) - Despite the valiant attempts of Alex Thomson to reel him in, Frenchman Armel Le Cleac'h appeared headed for victory Tuesday in the Vendee Globe solo round the world race with 600 nautical miles to go. Thomson, in his Hugo Boss, has been shaving down his rival's lead in recent days and Sunday set a 24-hour speed record for distance covered in a single hulled yacht in 24 hours, skimming across 536.

81 nautical miles of ocean at an average speed of 22.36 knots. But Le Cleac'h has steadied his Banque Populaire VIII and held a lead of 74.9 nautical miles as both raced towards the French coast. Organisers expect the race winner to cross the line between 0700 and 1500 GMT on Thursday. With the wind having dropped, the Frenchman was still under pressure to keep the dogged Thomson at bay as they steered towards the English Channel, where northeasterly winds awaited, at an average 17 knots.

Thomson has been fighting to close the gap for 45 days since Le Cleac'h ended his brief spell at the head of the race. But the chances of his actually becoming the first Briton to win look slim given that the distance he has to make up exceeds 10% of the total remaining distance. Le Cleac'h is straining to go one better than two runner-up showings and those who know him think he will not let the chance of glory slip.