Jean-Pierre Dick sailing Virbac has overnight taken the lead from the initial race leader Vincent Riou on PRB

Jean-Pierre Dick sailing Virbac has overnight taken the lead from the initial race leader Vincent Riou on PRB and increased his standing to just over four miles. News is just through that Sill has slipped ahead of Jean Le Cam on Bonduelle.

There’s currently just five miles between the top four boats as they head south through the Bay of Biscay with Mike Golding and Ecover snapping at their heels, nine miles astern of the leader.

Golding chatting live from the boat this morning said: “I have had a reasonable first night but it was a bit worrying when I head a lot of stange noises on the boat. I did however, manage to get in a few naps. It’s important to get sleep in early. The wind at is currently (0956 GMT) steady and I’m flying along at 18-20kts.

“I lost a few miles last night by not changing to the Code 5 early enough; I was being exceptionally prudent. I’ve now got the Code 5 up and sailing at full speed.”

The second placed British sailor is Alex Thomson aboard Hugo The fleet is currently enjoying a building north-easterly wind which is pushing them on a rapid track down through the Bay of Biscay. The wind is forecast to remain fresh throughout the day and should increase to 20-25kts as the front-runners approach for the Spanish coast later tonight.

However, an interesting weather system lies ahead once they’ve passed Spain, which will force skippers to make their first major tactical decision. They’ll either take the westerly, longer option round the looming north-north-east-going depression(see chart D)which will give them fast reaching conditions, or take the more direct route but here they are likely to encounter counter winds off the Canaries. Whatever they decide it probably will in some way influence which route they take through the Doldrums. Golding concluded: “Yes, it’s going to be interesting to see what decisions are taken but I won’t judge the situation until later in the day, when I’ve seen the latest models.”

Positions at 1000


2 Virbac-Paprec 4.1 miles from the leader

3 Sill Véolia 4.8 miles from the leader

4 Bonduelle 5.0 miles from the leader

5 Ecover 9.2 miles from the leader

6 VMI 12.5 miles from the leader

7 Hugo Boss 15.4 miles from the leader

8 Temenos 18.2 miles from the leader

9 Hellomoto 18.7 miles from the leader

10 Arcelor Dunkerque 19.5 miles from the leader

11 VM Matériaux 21.8 miles from the leader

12 UUDS 26.9 miles from the leader

13 Pro-Form 29.4 miles from the leader

14 Ocean Planet 33.1 miles from the leader

15 Skandia 33.9 miles from the leader

16 ROXY 49.4 miles from the leader

17 AKENA Vérandas 58.6 miles from the leader

18 Max Havelaar / Best Western 59.7 miles from the leader

19 Benefic 68.7 miles from the leader

20 Brother