The other close combat in the top pack is being fought between the boys in blue Brian THOMPSON (GBR) and Will OXLEY (AUS) on Skandia, just ten miles ahead of the black stealth boat Pro-Form with Marc THIERCELIN (FRA) and Eric DROUGLAZET (FRA) onboard, as they pass Fernando de Noronha and go all out to keep the boat speed at its best and the French team at bay behind them.
In the Open 50 monohull class, despite their 241 mile lead, Joe HARRIS (USA) and Josh HALL (GBR) on Gryphon Solo will be watching their backs as Kip STONE (USA) and Merfyn OWEN (GBR) on Artforms gain another place in the rankings in an artful move into second place. Paul METCALF (GBR) and Ryan FINN (GBR) on Polarity Solo have followed suit and moved up one place to fourth as both attacking Anglo-American pairings reap the rewards of their westerly route towards the Doldrums.
The first multihull Pascal BIDÉGORRY (FRA) and Lionel LEMONCHOIS (FRA) on Banque Populaire rounded the British Ascension Island at approximately 1700 hours last night and is now clocking boatspeeds of over 20 knots sailing downwind for the last 1,400m to the finish. Gitana 11's more easterly route has paid off after three hard days bashing upwind, and Fred LE PEUTREC (FRA) and Yann GUICHARD (FRA) are now just 14 miles ahead of Michel DESJOYEAUX (FRA) and Hugues DESTREMAU (FRA) on Géant, however these two Open 60 multihulls are sailing at half the leader's speed, yet to round their windward marker, and until they do, Banque Populaire will continue to stretch out their lead.
The French father and son ESCOFFIERS, Frank-Yves and Kevin on their Open 50 multihull, Crêpes Whaou !, will definitely be the first boat in the whole fleet to arrive in Salvador tomorrow evening after overtaking Virbac-Paprec today sailing at 20+ knots downwind in the strong southeast Trades.
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