Franck Yves Escoffier finishes Route du Rhum and Roland Jourdain heads for finish line 10/11/06

Franck Yves Escoffier (Crêpes Whaou!) who has dominated the Class 2 multihull fleet crossed the Route du Rhum finish line in Guadeloupe at 0630 this morning taking 11 days 17 hours, 28 minutes and 11 seconds to complete the course. Escoffier’s 400 mile lead over second-placed Eric Bruneel (Trilogic) means that he is over a day ahead sailing his year-old carbon Van Peteghem/Lauriot-Prévost-designed trimaran.

With just 49 miles to the finish and a temporarily-repaired boom Roland Jourdain is clinging onto his lead in the IMOCA fleet albeit by just 47 miles. Jean Le Cam has dramatically closed the gap and is currently clocking 2kts more boat speed but time is running out. The leader should cross the finish line in the next few hours. Jean Pierre Dick on Virbac-Paprec is in third 155 miles from the leader.

British sailor Phil Sharp is now currently engaged in a battle to finish line in Class 40 with his closest rival Gildas Morvan on Oyster Funds. Sharp who stormed into the lead last weekend by taking a more favourable northerly route has lost nearly 30 miles over the last two days is now heading down towards the layline to cover Morvan who is just 85 miles astern with just over 1,000 miles to go to the finish. Going by his current form however, Sharp should be able to exercise his smart tactical skills and keep the French skipper where he wants him during the next few days.

Elsewhere on the racecourse in the Class 40 fleet Joé Seeten has been rescued from his yacht TMI Technologies see news story here and British sailor Ian Munslow has dropped a couple of places overnight but is still clocking up the miles – now 320 miles from Sharp. Meanwhile Nick Bubb who broke his mast on Wednesday continues to make progress towards the Azores.