Although Ecover is now back up to third in the TJV Open 60 monohulls, she is still over 200 miles behind Virbac

Virbac is still streaking ahead in the Open 60 monohull fleet in the Transat Jacques Vabre while Sill and Team Cowes try to take advantage of more westerly position to sail at a closer angle in the trades; Ecover is back on form and closing the gap but over 200 miles astern of Virbac. PRB is currently glued to the spot.

In the multihulls, Groupama leads the top four boats into the trades while Sergio Tacchini spears south and the backmarkers including Foncia and Bonduelle are becalmed. Although Groupama (Cammas/Proffit FRA) is still commanding a 59m lead in the multihull 60 class with three other boats all below 26N and now in the Trades, second placed Sergio Tacchini (Fauconnier/Foxall) has speared off south about 360m from the African coast, whereas the other three have all put some westing in their route. Both Géant (Desjoyeaux/Jan) and Belgacom (Nélias/L.Peyron) are clocking higher speeds downwind, and so we could see the gaps close up by the Doldrums.

For the next flank of boats above this latitude, only those placed over to the west, Biscuits La Trinitaine (Guillemot/Guichard) the furthest at 23W, Sopra Group (Monnet/L. Bourgnon) and Sodebo (Coville/Vincent) are in the wind corridor to the west of the Canaries. Four hundred miles to the East is Banque Populaire (Roucayrol/Bidegorry) to the lee of Gran Canaria.

There has not been much choice for those forced to stop in Madeira. Gitana (Lemonchois/Guessard) headed west, which is paying for now, whereas Bonduelle (Le Cam/De Pavant) and Foncia (Gautier/MacArthur) headed south, and it is these last two trimarans that have been becalmed. Ellen Macarthur philosophized on the sat phone: “It’s hard to have endured a broken mainsail halyard, a ripped staysail and a pit stop in Porto Santo, but harder still is to not have more than 2 knots of wind right now, just one of the many challenges of this race?one day the wind will return.”

Bayer CropScience (Le Peutrec/Cressant) has set off again from Porto Santo.

In the Open 50 multihulls Mollymawk skippered by British duo Ross Hobson and Andi Newman is, having stopped to repair hull damage, still the back marker of the whole fleet at 36N, and their goal is to catch up on the Open 50s before too long.