Armel Le Cleac’h looks set to celebrate a first victory in the gruelling Vendee Globe solo non stop round-the-world race.
The French skipper, aboard Banque Populaire, is hoping to win the event for the first time after two second-place finishes in the last two races in 2009 and 2013.
But he has serious competition in the closing 24 hours of the race with British skipper Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss, still in with a shot of upsetting his French rival.
At around 300 nautical miles to the finish line in French port of Les Sables D’Olonne, Thomson was a mere 33 miles adrift having made a late surge on Wednesday.
The day before, the French Navy paid both men a visit with a fly-over to see if everything was well on board.
Le Cleac’h told them to pass on a message to Thomson asking the Brit to stay behind him while Thomson told them he was simply looking forward to getting to dry land again.
An inevitability for Thomson, but Le Cleac’h still has a day of sailing ahead in a bid to keep the Welshman at bay.
At present speed and distance Le Cleac’h is set to cross the finish line late Thursday afternoon and some three hours ahead of Thomson.
But anything can happen at sea and a late upset is still possible.
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