Jean-Luc Nelias and Loik Peyron sailing Belgacom currently lead the TJV open 60 mutihull fleet

The speed at which the Transat Jacques Vabre Open 60 multihull fleet covered the English Channel in less than 24 hours was impressive. This year it was Géant (Desjoyeaux/Jan) who reached the ocean in just 10 hours with the favourable 25 knot southerly wind giving them the best sailing angle and direct heading along the northern French coastline.

Several boats passed inside Ushant, others went outside to avoid the counter-current. With the wind still blowing from the south, the fleet manoeuvred into upwind configuration and faced a big sea head on. The fleet began to take their options, some to head out west (Sergio Tacchini, Bayer CropScience, Gitana X, Bonduelle), others preferring to get more easting in (Belgacom Banque Populaire). Groupama (Cammas/Proffit) was the one boat to more or less stay on the rhumb line and as a result has a five-mile deficit on current leader of the fleet at 0900GMT, Belgacom (Nélias/L.Peyron).

The turquoise trimaran has just pushed her bows ahead of the recent leader, Italian trimaran TIM (Soldini/Malingri) by a scant 1.7m. Good news for Gautier and MacArthur on Foncia, who have recovered several positions overnight to place themselves in third at the latest poll. The Anglo-French duo are currently to the west of the rhumb line as well as the other two trimarans up ahead in the rankings, but not as far over as Sergio Tacchini (Fauconnier/Foxall). Groupama is a danger to them now as they are on the inside just 2.5m behind in terms of distance to finish.

This afternoon, the southerly winds dominating their route will reach 20-3kts, perhaps shifting slightly to the south-east due to the strength of a high pressure system sitting over the French coastline. This is important for the trimarans to be able to put more southing in and ease the sheets slightly so they are not so hard on the wind.

Sodebo (Coville/Vincent) took off again at 9pm French time last night after a 1 hour 30 minute pit stop in Roscoff to repair their broken starboard foil: “We hit a UFO in a wave which broke the foil,” Thomas Coville reported in this morning. “We’ve lost two and a half hours of racing, we’re going to have our work cut out to get back in the race and I just find it incredible the amount of dangerous objects that must be floating around in the sea.” By 0800hrs this morning they were already ahead of Sopra Group (Monnet/L. Bourgnon) and were 38 miles from the front.

Banque Covefi has still not left port after their damaged mainsail track and ripped main sail.

Positions at 0900


2 TIM 1.7 miles from the leader

3 FONCIA 2.7 miles from the leader

4 5.2 miles from the leader

5 BISCUITS LA TRINITAINE 6.4 miles from the leader

6 GEANT 11.6 miles from the leader

7 BONDUELLE 12.7 miles from the leader

8 SERGIO TACCHINI 17.1 miles from the leader

9 GITANA 19.3 miles from the leader

10 BANQUE POPULAIRE 24.2 miles from the leader

11 BAYER CROPSCIENCE 29.7 miles from the leader

12 SODEBO 42.3 miles from the leader

13 SOPRA GROUP 46.2 miles from the leader

14 BANQUE COVEFI 316.6 miles from the leader