Vendee Globe sailor Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) is managing to hold off Vincent Riou (PRB) and Mike Golding (Ecover)

Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) is managing to contain the attacks from his two protagonists, Vincent Riou (PRB) and Mike Golding (Ecover). At over 18 knots on a direct course, 175 miles from the second Pacific gateway, he is maintaining a lead of over 150 miles.

Benefiting from the same south south-westerly airflow as the leader, Riou is belting along in front of the threat of Golding. These three skippers have covered around 380 miles in the past 24 hours and, 2,140 miles from Cape Horn, can envisage a return to the Atlantic on 3 January.

Patrice Carpentier is today 40 miles from the Tasmanian coast. The skipper of VM Matériaux is looking for shelter to try and repair his broken boom, hoping to use the time to sort out various other issues including engine troubles. This pitstop is likely to cost the most senior member of the fleet his 10th place in the general ranking, which would mean that American Bruce Schwab (Ocean Planet) would go up into the top ten.

Another racer in search of a second wind, Marc Thiercelin (Pro Form), is this morning 220 miles from the south of New Zealand with innumerable technical worries and he is questioning whether he has the ability to resolve the issues without assistance.

Australian Nick Moloney (Skandia) is today passing under New Zealand, between Stewart Island to his north and the island of Auckland to its south. Nick has curved round to the south and is preparing to negotiate a zone with light winds. As half expected at the 1900 ranking last night, icebergs were spotted by Jean Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec) last night at 52 degrees south. Having passed very close to two of them, he immediately reported the sighting to Race Management.

Following the example of Dominique Wavre (Temenos), Jean Pierre is trying to deal with some small high pressure zones as best he can, the zone having severely slowed the two skippers yesterday. Conrad Humphreys nibbled 13th place yesterday from Anne Liardet, and the insatiable British sailor has now got his sights on Max Havelaar-Best Western skippered by Benoit Parnaudeau. 150 miles separate the two men, but Conrad is making 3-4 more knots. Bringing up the rear of the fleet Karen Leibovici is battling on despite severe back pain from a car accident earlier in the year and some very sore ribs after being swung around during a climb up the mast.