During the last few hours Mike Golding has taken the lead and once again heads Le Defi Atlantique

During the last few hours Mike Golding has taken the lead and once again heads Le Defi Atlantique. As we mentioned in a report on yachtingworld.com earlier today see news story here it’s worth keeping an eye on Sebastien Josse. Having been lying in fourth position at 19 miles astern of the leader, Josse’s tactics to go west has paid off because he’s now in second place, just two miles behind Golding. Alex Thomson is still in third place, four miles behind Golding, while Vincent Riou has dropped to fourth.

After 3,800 miles, the closeness of the racing in these powerful Open 60s is more akin to a dinghy race around the Solent. Just 12 miles separate the top four boats with less than 400 miles to go to the La Rochelle finish line.

The fleet is currently crossing the Bay of Biscay and the leading boats, now through the high-pressure zone, have picked up a useful working headwind of over 20kts.

Having lost the lead to Riou and then Golding in the last 24-hours it was surprising to find Thomson in good form when yachtingworld.com chatted to him from the boat this morning. He said: “Don’t like this cold. I have my thermals and gloves on and I’m heading upwind in about 22-23kts of breeze. Unfortunately I’ve lost the use of all my wind instruments which is making things interesting. As we came out of the light stuff last night I saw a green light down to leeward and guessed it was Mike Golding. As I look out now he’s to windward and slightly forward. He’s got to be the favourite to take this race because he’s fast upwind in these conditions. He then called me up to confirm it was him and we had a chat about the race.”

Golding added: “I could see a light, which I presumed to be Alex (Thomson), so gave him a call on the Irridium phone. We had a chat about what a crazy race it had been so far. We talked about his fantastic new record – he has done really, really well. Of course its great to be leading the race, but it is so close that anything could happen. I’m upwind of both VMI and AT Racing, which is great as it puts them further down the wind ladder, its all quite healthy for us at the moment. But the next weather forecast may be completely different and turn everything around again. Literally anything can happen!”

The estimated time of arrival of the leading boat into La Rochelle is currently the morning of Wednesday 17 December.

Latest positions

1 Mike Golding, ECOVER, 374.6 miles to the finish

2 Sebastien Josse, VMI, 376.8, 2.2 miles to the finish

3 Alex Thomson, AT Racing, 379.4, 4.8 miles to the finish

4 Vincent Riou, PRB, 386.8, 12.2 miles to the finish

5 Nick Moloney, Team Cowes, 454.0, 79.4 miles to the finish

6 Joe Seeten, Arcelor, 558.3, 183.7 miles to the finish