British girls continue to lead monohull Classes 1 and 2 in Europe 1 Newman STAR

June 13 10.30

In the last 24 hours Ellen MacArthur’s lead in the Open 60 Class in the solo transat has increased to 54 miles. After nine days’ racing, Roland Jourdain’s Sill Beurre le Gall which has been in contact with Kingfisher since the start, has slipped back, with just 14 miles between him and Catherine Chabaud sailing Whirlpool who has taken advantage of her southerly route to stage a strong comeback. Mike Golding in Team Group 4 is a further 60 miles back. There is no indication as to whether Jourdain has trouble with his boat. The ‘north south divide’ in the Open 60 fleet is down to 40 miles as they tackle the last 1200 miles to Newport, so whilst weather tactics will still play a vital role, the boats will now all be experiencing simillar conditions.

In Class 2 monohulls Emma Richards in Pindar is holding onto her lead, although Andrea Gancia in the Farr-designed Nastro Azzuro is closing the gap. Emma, though, still has a 40-mile advantage. She does have some mast problems and spent some time yesterday trying to straighten an S bend out of her mast.

The 60ft trimarans have been enjoying near ideal conditions, with 10 – 15 knots of wind on the beam and flat water allowing them to sail at over 20 knots. There is now every chance of the record being broken. Franck Cammas (Groupama) has taken a very slim, half mile lead from Francis Joyon in Eure et Loire while Alain Gautier sailing Foncia has his foot hard on the throttle and is just 22 miles behind the leaders, a mere blink of an eyelid at the speed these boats travel.