Mike Golding (Ecover), in third position is consistently closing the gap and is just 71.7 miles behind the Vendee Globe leader

Vendee Globe leader Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) has lost a couple more miles overnight and is now 44.6 mile ahead of Vincent Riou (PRB).

But the one to watch right now is Mike Golding(pictured) on Ecover, in third position who is consistently closing the gap and is just 71.7 miles behind the leader. Strutting her stuff upwind, Ecover is really showing her true potential and there’s little doubt that she currently has the edge on speed over the two ahead. The next 24 hours will be very interesting.

The top three are currently positioned 740 miles south east of Montevideo (Uruguay) and 2,700 miles from the Equator.

Elsewhere in the fleet Patrice Carpentier (VM Matériaux) has arrived in New Zealand to carry out repairs to his boom and has now officially retired. He has announced also however, he intends to complete the course once the boat is fixed.

In an official statement to the race office Patrice Carpentier, skipper of the boat VM Matériaux said: “I declare I am making a stopover on Saturday 8 January in the port of Lyttelton (near Christchurch). This stopover is due to technical problems on the boat starting with a broken boom, which will be repaired on the spot. I am therefore receiving external assistance and putting myself out of the Vendée Globe race, as laid down in the rules. I add that I intend to continue on my way once the work is finished and to complete this single-handed round the world voyage.”

Dominique Wavre (Temenos) is a few hours away from his sixth Cape Horn. 44 miles from the mythical rock, Dominique is sailing downwind in a steady westerly flow. 16.5 knots average speed over a half-hour for 16.3 knots VMG (velocity made good), or in other words he is on course for the way out of the southern seas. This sailor has covered the most miles in this Vendée Globe and should be rounding the Horn any time now.

Karen Leibovici (Benefic) had to heave to, to sort out her battery-charging problem overnight when she was 300 miles south east of Tasmania. However, news this morning shows she set sail again at 0300 this morning having sorted the problem.