Roland Jourdain crosses finish line just half an hour ahead of Jean Le Cam 11/11/06

Roland Jourdain on Sill et Veolia managed to just hold on to his IMOCA lead in the light air finish of the Route du Rhum early this morning. Jourdain who was nursing a broken boom crept over the finish line in Guadaloupe at 0158 this morning recording a time of 12 days, 11 hours, 58 minutes and 58 seconds clocking an average speed of 11.81kts.

Closing the gap in the last couple of day was second-placed Jean Le Cam on VM Materiaux. Just two days ago he was 90 miles astern but in the last 24 hours made significant gains finishing just 28 minutes after Jourdain. In third place, just eight hours later, was Jean Pierre Dick on Virbac-Paprec who finished at 0929 this morning.

Elsewhere in the fleet Class 40 the leading six competitors are enduring yet another low pressure system. Although the winds and seas were less fierce than earlier in the week it was still a lively night. British sailor Phil Sharp retains his lead but Gildas Morvan (Oyster funds) is starting to threaten his position just 70 miles behind.

Interestingly while those in the north are currently experiencing 20kts of winds those to the south are at a stand still with no wind.

Sharp chatting from the boat confirmed last night’s tough conditions: “It’s been all over the place overnight. Going through the front seemed to go on and on forever with wind conditions up and down. We had a lot of rain as well, just to make sure you get cold and wet and miserable whilst keeping the boat moving.

“There were a lot of clouds so the beginning of the night was very dark. There was no moon so you couldn’t see anything at all and try to sail the boat with a lot of sail out for the maximum performance. I was pushing hard to gain as much distance as possible and get through the front as fast as possible. I couldn’t even see through the rain to manage, and could not achieve sleep at all. Then we’ve came out the other side of the clouds so we had clear skies and I’m looking forward to lying down.”