Vincent Riou has taken the lead once again from Jean Le Cam

With just 580 miles to go to the finish of the Vendee Globe the pendulum has swung back in the favour of Vincent Riou. At 1430 Riou made a decision to tack and currently holds a 4.6 mile advantage over Bonduelle (Jean Le Cam).

While Riou is making what he hopes will be his final approach tack from the north to the finish, both Le Cam and Britain’s Mike Golding are hoping that Riou has waited too long and strayed too far to the north – dicing with the lighter breezes nearer the centre of the anticyclone.

Golding in particular has spoken plainly today, with his thoughts about Riou’s strategy, and while there may even be an element of winding up his rival during this last days, the real evidence will come when we see how, and when he lines up for the finish.

Now closed to just 51.1 miles of the race leader, Golding on Ecover is still a threat. Commenting on the situation Golding said: “It is even exciting for me. Vincent will be very worried and should be, given his course and speed. He still has some advantages. It is just possible that I could pass PRB.”

Last night for Golding was much the same as the previous one, quite changeable winds, between 12 and 24 knots, and that still means a compromise in terms of sail plan.

“Half the time we were over-pressed and half the time we were under, but I am sure that all have that though.”

With the first boat expected now during the late afternoon of Wednesday it seems certain that a new solo round the world record will be set.

“Who knows how it will go?” Mike Golding volunteered today. Between Bonduelle and PRB he would stake his money on Bonduelle getting to Les Sables d’Olonne before PRB and, of the two, he would rather see Le Cam get their first.

Britain’s Conrad Humphreys on eighth placed Hellomoto, has, for the moment managed to stabilise his keel. It has taken him over 48 hours and countless calls to his shore team and the boat’s designer to find a solution to the problem of both of the hydraulic rams that cant (swing) Hellomoto’s keel having lost pressure.

Because of the instability and increased fore and aft movement of the keel, the main bearing was wearing, and Humphreys reported that he thought it was only a matter of time before his keel fell off completely.

The Plymouth based skipper sounded relieved that the problem seems to be settled for the time being, after managing to re-pressurize the rams.

He reports that the seas are a little more organised, they now almost have the feel of the Bay of Biscay.

Top three at 15h00 GMT today

1. Bonduelle (Jean Le Cam) 584.4 nautical miles from the finish.

2. PRB (Vincent Riou) 4.6 miles from the leader.

3. Ecover (Mike Golding) 51.1 miles from the leader.