Forty-eight hours after a stormy start that saw nine boats turn back to port, competitors in the Vendee Globe settled down to more favourable winds and seas Tuesday.
France's Jean-Pierre Dick took the lead in the world's toughest round-the-world non-stop solo sailing race before dawn as he rounded Spain's Cape Finisterre at the tiller of Paaprec-Virbac 2.
"This is good news," said Dick when his support team told him he was leading countrymen Loick Peyron (Gitana-Eighty) and Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) after the passing of a particularly fierce cold front.
"I had been sick for 36 hours. I vomited everything I had in my belly -- that's never happend to me before. Thirty-six hours without sleep ... I'm totally run down ... We've been through hell."
But at least Dick was at sea, in his Bruce Farr-designed Open 60 built at the Southern Ocean Marine shipyard in Tauranga, New Zealand.
Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) through Gulf of Gascony's ordeal (Vendée Globe's images)
On Tuesday, Frenchman Marc Thiercelin's DCNS became the third boat to lose its mast -- and the ninth forced to turn back for repairs -- in what race watchers called the stormiest-ever start to the Vendée Globe.
Others were early casualties of violent seas, fierce gales, mechanical breakdowns -- and in the case of Swiss yachtsman Bernard Stamm aboard Cheminees Poujoulat, a collision with a cargo ship.
Under race rules, they have 10 days to get their vessels back into shape and out to sea to stay in the gruelling 24,000 nautical mile circumnavigation that includes perilous passages around the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.
Of the two women in the race, Britain's Dee Cafari and Samantha Davies were 12th and 13th with 7.1 nautical miles between them at 0930 GMT, according to the Vendée Globe website (www.vendeeglobe.org).
Satellite view of the race on Nov.12th (Vendée Globe's graphics)
Vendee Globe standings at 0400h GMT Wednesday 13th November :
1-Jean Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2) 23030.2 miles from the finish
2 Seb Josse (BT) +2.7 miles from leader
3-Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) 6.1 miles behind
4-Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) 11 miles from the leader
5-Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) 13 miles behind
6-Vincent Riou (PRB) 14.9 miles behind