Such is the pace of Virbac-Paprec 3, they should be at the Equator by Wednesday

Virbac-Paprec 3 leads the pack by 40 miles as the duo of Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron pass the latitude of Dakar some 500 miles to the East. Speeds remain high, with skippers steering constantly – working regular shifts to maximise speed.

For the leaders it will be champagne sailing all the way throught a nice, narrow gap in the Doldrums, only about 120 miles wide. For those who are at the back, the trade winds will start to drop more significantly as they get south – by Tuesday and Wedneday.

Such is the pace that Virbac-Paprec 3 are setting now, they should be at the Equator by Wednesday, and looking at crossing about 24 W, with the northern boundary of the Doldrums around 3N.

Estrella Damm, in third place, lost some time last night when they dropped a kite into the water and had to stop to recover it. But they are back on track this morning with their lead over Mirabaud at 15 miles.

The speed kings are still Iker and Xabi on what is being dubbed their 69-er. They are the only team in the race to be consistently close to the speeds of the leaders, ironically they match Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart  on Foncia to the same 10th of a knot over the morning surf session from 0400hrs – 0900hrs.

They have a lead of just over 11 miles on Neutrogena, but the Olympic medallists’ have an advantage with their westerly position.

To view track postions, CLICK HERE.