Francis Joyon’s 60ft trimaran Eure et Loir, undisputed leader of the 2001 Rolex Fastnet Race, turned the corner at 1940 last night

With Pindar now retired, Eure et Loir is the only 60ft trimaran racing and she is where one would expect to find her: right at the front.

Skipper Francis Joyon, accompanied on this trip by Britain’s multiple Olympic medallist Rodney Pattisson and short-handed Vendée star Thomas Coville, rounded the Fastnet Rock at 1940 yesterday evening. In records terms, he needed to arrive in Plymouth by 0830 this morning having averaged 20 knots from the Rock to Plymouth.

Reports from RORC suggested this was achievable as the Humphrey Morris Committee vessel reported 30 knots of south-southwesterly winds later last night This morning, however, light winds over the Western Approaches and off the southwest coast have fairly firmly closed the window on Fujicolor’s 1999 record, 1d 16h 27m.

The prevailing conditions would indicate that in the absence of strong low pressure systems streaming in rom the Atlantic, the ridge of high pressure along the northern European coast has edged north and now dominates the Rolex Fastnet weather. It could be a very long race for the smaller boats.