Four weeks in, and the round the world race looks in danger of disintegrating as a competitive event

It looks painfully like the Velux 5 Oceans race is falling apart as a competitive event just weeks after the start. The race has had its problems, but this is cruel all round and is no-one’s fault. Blame the weather.

The front four skippers are a thousand miles apart and the rear contingent well over 2,000 miles behind. Bernard Stamm is a runaway leader. He should make 40°S and enter the Southern Ocean this weekend 800 or even 1,000 miles ahead of Mike Golding or Alex Thomson. That’s 2-3 days in elapsed time, which is how this race is scored.

It’s true that can anything can happen, but the anything that might restore the 5 Oceans to a close race won’t be a good thing. Only a problem or a breakage is going to bring the leaders back together and there’s an equal chance that such a mishap would tear the fleet further apart. Even Bernard Stamm must have misgivings; this does not feel like a grand prix tussle. It’s not good.

Incidentally, if you’re frustrated with the official website race viewer, you can get daily positions here