It is Bonduelle (Le Cam/Caraes) who is reigning in the Multihull Fleet, 8 & 14 miles ahead respectively of the more westerly positioned trimarans Belgacom (Nélias/Desjoyeaux) and Fujifilm (Peyron/Le Mignon).
In the last 24 hours they have clocked 501.8 miles. Speeds are averaging between 20 25 knots in the 40 knot winds as they careen downwind faster than the waves themselves, planting their bows in the crest of water ahead. Skipper Jean-Luc Nélias described life on board Belgacom: "The sea was big last night with 40 knots of wind, we¹ve been surfing, trying to control the boat and avoid pitching it into the waves too much. Bonduelle is heading further East but I prefer to be here."
The top older generation boats are not far behind. Kingfisher-Foncia (Gautier/MacArthur) retain 5th place, with Groupama (Cammas/Ravussin) just ahead in 4th. The only all-girl team on Pindar Systems (Richards/Von Koskull) has made good progress, with a lead of 10 miles over Gitana IX (Duprey/Denis) gained overnight.
By the 1000hrs polling, Ecover (Golding/Hutchinson) had superceded Sill Plein Fruit (Jourdain/Le Cleac'h) to lead the Open 60 monohull fleet by just 3 miles, which has since increased to 5 miles at midday. British skipper Mike Golding summed up: "We've got a North easterly breeze of 35 knots and steep, short seas. We've had two serious broaches, which is unusual for this boat. But we're going at 22 knots right now. There's still an advantage to keep more West, but it's a hard call, I don't know how long we'll hold this lead." Golding just reported in that they narrowly missed hitting a whale surfing at 24 knots over a wave.
Casto-Darty-But (Moloney/Turner) holds onto 3rd place, trailing the leader by 25 miles at the 1000hrs polling. They reported 25 knots and the same "rough routine" of "hurtling down pretty steep waves into the pitch black". They have been closely match-racing Voila.fr (Gallay/De Pavant), this morning pointing just 3 miles ahead of their French predator.
In the Open 50¹s, One Dream-One Mission (Bennett/Larsen) is steadily pushing out a big lead of 45 miles over Italians Tredicci (Accati/Stefani) and ahead of 4 Open 60¹s, really 'smoking' as Australian Paul Larsen wrote this morning. "Speed is constantly hitting mid-twenties with the best being at 27 beautiful knots." There is still a lot of experimenting as they have been changing their front sails after furler problems and putting in a reef for a control check in the building conditions.
Off the coast of Spain the North to North East breeze should build to 30 35 knots. The back monohulls will be struggling still with the high pressure ridge at 45 degrees parallel. The multihulls will be facing a depression ahead at 35 degrees parallel, which is moving Eastwards. Options are either to get round it to the West or keep on the direct route ahead.
Multihull Positions at 1200hrs French time DTF (nm):
Postn Boat Latitude Longitude Speed Hdg DTF DFL
1 Bonduelle 38 37.04¹ N 11 25.20' W 26.3 211 4324.2
2 Belgacom 39 18.36' N 14 50.08' W 24 183 4332 7.8m
3 Fujifilm 39 24.92' N 14 45.72' W 21.1 189 4338 13.8m
Open 60 Monohull Positions at 1015hrs GMT DTF (nm):
1 Ecover 39 02.44' N 13 58.08' W 18.1 248 3441.8
2 Sill Plein Fruit
38 52.56¹ N 13 20.84¹ W 18.0 244 3447.4 5.7m
3 Casto - Darty - But
39 15.36' N 111 36.54' W NC NC 3466.3 19m
Open 50 Monohull Positions at 1045hrs GMT DTF (nm):
1 One Dream : One Mission
41 07.08' N 11 25.08' W 13.9 190.6 3600.8
2 Tredici 41 54.24¹ N 11 13.96¹ W 14 206 3646.1 45.3m
" Speed & Heading are instantaneous
" Positions are polled every two hours daily between 0430hrs - 2030hrs and can be viewed online at: http://www.jacques-vabre.com - click on 'rankings'
Radio Chat Extracts
Co-skipper Gael Le Cleac'h on board Sill Plein Fruit barely had breath to recount the night's events: "We broached violently off Cape Finisterre in 40 knots of wind and a raging sea. Bilou (Jourdain) was preparing supper and the bowl of rice & ham is now plastered all over the cabin!"
Jacques Caraes (Bonduelle): "The sea-state is horrible. You have to have one hand on the sheets and the other on the helm & stay totally on the ball - so no sleep for either of us last night. We¹ve put all the sails and food the heavy stuff - towards the back of the boat to lighten the bows. We are now positioning ourselves more in the West to keep up this performance for the next few hours."
Mark Turner (Casto-Darty-But): "We have a few electrics problems including a short which means the instruments keep re-setting themselves suddenly no good when you are half way down a wave and the only gauge you have (true wind angle) blacks out!"
Miranda Merron (UUDS): "We really enjoyed having to furl the spinnaker in 28 knots of wind...then the gennaker in 38 knots! The NKE system no longer works and stern ballast has sprung a leak but all is okay otherwise!"
Paul Larsen (One Dream One Mission): "Although I consider myself a one-eyed multihull sailor I must admit that I'm having a bloody ball!" Radio chat is held between 0430 0530hrs French time with the monohull & multihull leaders, and again with the fleet between 1200 1400hrs FT, which can be downloaded from the web site in Real Audio.