With just 160 miles to the finish there is now little to stop Vincent Riou claiming the overall victory of the Vendee Globe

Although there’s not too much breeze around at the moment for the leading Vendee Globe trio, the forecast is for the wind back throughout the day round to the north-north-west and increase to 10-15kts later this afternoon.

This means Vincent Riou aboard his four-year-old Open 60 should have a decent sail to the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne. Riou is in a relatively safe position keeping a careful loose cover over Jean Le Cam as he heads towards the line and now has a 97-mile advantage.

A necessary tack for the layline has resulted in Mike Golding aboard Ecover losing out further and now trails the top two boats by nearly 170 miles, furthest to the west. Chatting from the boat a few minutes ago (1100 GMT) Golding sounded in good form. “I would like to have won but I feel very fortunate to have completed the course. I also feel very lucky that I actually have only one regret which was of course the halyard that failed three times.

“During the last 24 hours I’ve been reflecting on the race but last night I had to make a critical decision to tack over to the north. This I had to do but I’ve lost a few more miles. I’m now looking forward to getting back on shore to see my family, friends and all my supporters. And of course the cheese baguette that I’ve been dreaming of for days!”

The crowds are beginning to flock into the sleepy town of Les Sables d’Olonne to witness the leading boats return to the port they left 87 days. But it’s going to be a long night with a current estimated time of arrival approximately 0300 tomorrow morning.