BP Explorer is still hanging on to the lead, now reduced to 5nm over Spirit of Sark.
After a rough ride during the night, with wind speeds over 60 knots reported, conditions are becoming more moderate as the westerly yachts enjoy a strong north-northeast. They are probably employing poled out headsails, making for an exciting yet relatively stress free ride.
To the east, the yachts will be experiencing relatively lighter winds, but heading straight into the breeze, the beating conditions may still be causing some considerable movement of the bow through the waves.
Amedeo Sorrentino, skipper of VAIO, has just called in with reports of gusts up to 62 knots and 'Southern Ocean like' conditions last night, extolling the qualities of both his crew and yacht, saying that their recent performance has filled him confidence.
Describing life on board during last night's storm, today's daily log from BP Explorer's Naomi Cudmore speaks for itself:
"Sails down bar storm stay. Ripped No2. (their 3rd biggest headsail) Force 10, gusting 11, sea beautiful but vicious. Storm has lasted all night and fear we will have lost precious ground. Nothing we can do at present except hang on! Hatches battened down. Too rough to write. More later!"
During her audio interview this afternoon, Dee Caffari, skipper of Imagine It. Done. sounded proud of her team after working them hard through the night:
"Just as one watch was going to sleep I had to get them up again for some extra pairs of hands around, so everyone worked really hard and not a lot of time was spent recovering on their off watch, but we went through quite a lot of sail changes and kept really good boat speed up."
With lighter winds predicted as the low-pressure system drifts north, the yachts to the north and west will perform better as they catch the breeze first and feel its benefits longer. Those to the south and east will experience a quicker decrease in wind speed, which may cause the fleet as a whole to continue to bunch up.
The distance between first and last has already decreased by 11nm since 2am this morning and the light winds may accelerate this trend in the coming days.
Samsung did particularly well during the rough stuff last night. They have gained 15nm on the lead since 2am to put them 37 nm behind 1st place BP Explorer, and currently lie in a strong position as the most westerly team.