Vincent Riou's lead is being eaten away by Jean Le Cam

PRB’s Vincent Riou, Bonduelle’s Jean Le Cam, and Ecover’s Mike Golding, are all now less than 800 miles from the Vendee Globe finish in Les Sables d’Olonne and have (Sunday afternoon) less than 100 miles between them.

Riou, now with only 26.8 miles in hand and 745 miles to sail, is managing to stay calm as Le Cam reels in the miles. Chatting this morning Riou sounded as chilled as always, commenting: “Logically it looks like things are favourable for me. If I tack at the right time, I’ll get wind first and then leave them behind me.”

Virtually every sentence in the interview with Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) today was laced with swear words, the conditions particularly testing overnight. “It’s been a hellish night and my friend ‘Goldinger’ will tell you the same thing. I’ve had everything from 6 to 26 knots of wind – when you’ve got lots of sail up conditions are very strange with the squalls. Conditions are apocalyptic. Mr ‘Goldinger’ must have witnessed worse.”

But Golding, in third has improved his position of three days ago steadily gaining on Le Cam. After sounding tired and frustrated yesterday it is a much more resolute Mike Golding on Ecover who reported in today, acknowledging that things are very definitely getting better in terms of the ultimate goal. It is the unsettled sea and weather conditions which are frustrating Golding most.

Win or lose, he is well used to tense, nervous finishes even if the stakes are higher than before, but today his stress is not because there is all to play for and so little between the trio, but because the breeze and the seas are changing all the time and there is so few opportunities to sustain a rhythm, to get Ecover into a groove and simply drive for speed, or to get the time to settle and really analyse the options.

All the 13 strong Vendée Globe fleet are now in the Atlantic Ocean, Karen Leibovici (Benefic) experienced an emotional first rounding of Cape Horn this morning. She said: “I have passed Cape Horn! I feel very happy and very emotional. I can’t put my thoughts into words. I slowed down a lot overnight so I could see it in daylight conditions. It was absolutely fantastic. I was very close to it and there was no mist or fog. It’s a dream come true. I’m still in shock.

” I passed the cape a couple of hours ago, (around 0830 GMT) and got my first glimpse of it before that. I cut my hair and threw it into the wind and then I cracked open a bottle of drink. It’s a big, big rock, very high with a bit of green on it. I saw the snow capped mountains around it lit up by the sun. The water was a dark grey, to black, with a white foam around the rock. The seas were very built-up.

” I now have a westerly wind of 10/35 knots, with snow squalls since yesterday. My rounding of the cape cancels out all the worries I’ve had throughout this race. It’s something I’ve dreamt of for years. My father had all the books by all the great sailors and I read them as a child. The seas are difficult but there are few who get the opportunity to sail in this neck of the woods. I am here thanks to the help of a huge amount of people.”

Top three positions at 15h00 GMT 30 January

1. PRB (Vincent Riou) 745.9 miles from the finish

2. Bonduelle (Jean Le Cam) 26.8 miles from the leader

3. Ecover (Mike Golding) 94.5 miles from the leader