Me to You and VAIO have won a very slender lead; they only lead the three teams placed third to fifth by a fragile 1nm.
The leading pair head the main bunch of nine, but Samsung, Pindar and BG SPIRIT, in tenth, eleventh and twelfth respectively, have opted for a course to the north of the fleet. Samsung and Pindar are just north of the main bunch whereas BG SPIRIT are now the most northerly yacht, making a move away from the competition on their own. Andy FORBES (AUS) and his team are 4nm from the leader, but they will be hoping their move away from the fleet will afford them exclusive localized wind to propel them back to the front.
Although they started in very light winds, with teams drifting towards the line in difficult conditions for racing, the fleet now has approximately 15 knots from the south. Forecast to shift to the southeast over the next 24 hours, their downwind run looks set to continue.
Subsequently, using their spinnakers to maximum effect whilst guarding against potentially costly early damage will be key. Jeremy TROUGHTON skippered Logica during the 2000/01 race and watched the start from the committee boat, 'The boats are probably going to be flat the whole time, the spinnakers up pretty much for the majority of the leg so they'll have to keep their spinnakers in good condition. If they have some sail damage early on and blow some spinnakers out then there's going to be massive holes in their sail armoury and that could cause them to really struggle.'
VAIO was the first yacht to cross the line at the start of Leg 5 from Cape Town, South Africa to Boston, USA, but unfortunately a tricky start in light winds meant they crossed the line one second before the start cannon fired. They have since completed their 720 degree penalty turn and managed to regain their position at the front of the race.
The start played out in incredibly light winds making life very frustrating for the teams, many closely packed and fighting for what little air was available. Many hoisted spinnakers but the light airs made it a difficult process in stressful conditions.
Me to You had difficulty opening their kite - the wind was not strong enough to pop the wool they use to pack it. Barclays Adventurer had a problem with their kite causing some frantic activity on the foredeck but were nonetheless second over the line, and crucially not over the line too soon!
Imagine It. Done. were third over the line completing the top three officially racing towards Boston. The supporter boats were hanging back as the rest of the fleet slowly approached the line, all bobbing in the swell as teams clearly worked frantically to get every possible bit of speed at this psychologically important stage of the leg.