Dalin holds slender lead with Vendee Globe finish on horizon

Paris (AFP) –


French skipper Charlie Dalin extended his lead in the Vendee Globe on Tuesday but victory is anything but assured as the tightest finish in the solo round the world race's history entered its final hours.

Dalin, on board Apivia, was less than 450 nautical miles off Les Sables d'Olonne where the leading boats are expected to conclude their maritime odyssey on Wednesday.

The ninth edition of sailing's 'Everest' could still have a first ever non-French winner. German skipper Boris Herrmann had moved up to second at 1100GMT, just 86.5nm behind Dalin.

Even if Herrmann fails to overhaul Dalin by the line he could still end up the winner as he is due a six-hour bonus for his part in the rescue of Kevin Escoffier off the Cape of Good Hope in December.

Herrmann's monohull - Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco - displaced Louis Burton (Bureau Vallee 2), who dropped to third, a little over 100nm behind the leader.

In fourth is Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut), 275nm off the pace with Yannick Bestaven (Maitre Coq IV) around 320nm back in fifth.

Bestaven like Herrmann helped in Escoffier's rescue and will receive a 10hr 15min bonus when he makes port.

Leading Vendee Globe standings at 1100GMT Tuesday

1. Charlie Dalin (FRA/Apivia) at 444.7 nautical miles from finish, 2. Boris Herrmann (GER/Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) at 86.5nm, 3. Louis Burton (FRA/Bureau Vallee 2) 104.1, 4. Thomas Ruyant (FRA/LinkedOut) 274.9, 5. Yannick Bestaven (FRA/Maitre Coq IV) 319.8, 6. Damien Seguin (FRA/Groupe Apicil) 361.2, 7. Giancarlo Pedote (ITA/Prysmian Group) 437.0, 8. Jean Le Cam (FRA/Yes we Cam!) 515.8, 9. Benjamin Dutreux (FRA/OMIA-Water Family) 675.7, 10. Maxime Sorel (FRA/V And B Mayenne) 914.43