Sill Plein Fruit and Fila have both found the southwesterlies they went south to pick up but Kingfisher still holds the lead

Roland Jourdain’s Sill Plein Fruit and Andrea Scarabelli’s Fila have rocketed up to second and fourth respectively on the leaderboard after dipping south to pick up the north-moving band of southwesterlies. Kingfisher is now the most northerly boat in the fleet, closest to the rhumb line and still 16 miles ahead of the charging Sill, furthest south.

“There has been quite a lot of sealife already this trip,” said Nick Moloney, Kingfisher’s co-skipper with Adrienne Cahalan. “Yesterday we had two sharks alongside but it’s a little hard to take it all in when the goal right now is to punch through this front and get into the southwesterly flow as soon as possible. This is emphasised through Adrienne’s response to all the talk about sealife: ‘That’s nice, darlings. 70-80 TWA please.’

“Our last pole has revealed that the whole fleet has gained a little over the last three hours (Nick’s mail was received at 0035 this morning). These boats will skate along in hardly any air at all but of course, you do need some. Five to ten knots of boatspeed can be achieved easily in less than ten knots of wind. Potentially right now our opposition could be gaining at a rate of 10 miles and hour. Not a comfortable feeling?

” The fog has gone for now. The barometer is rising steadily, all signs that we are making progress through this weather transition. As the afternoon light begins to fade I look over the sea through the windows in our coachhouse roof. I can see a small amount of wind on the water to the south of us. How far does this extend? Far enough to push along our opponents? Will it reach us or simply evaporate?”

In dipping south so late, Ecover didn’t benefit from the southwesterlies as much as the French and Italian entries but the polled figures show she hasn’t lost too much. She is now third, four miles behind Sill in terms of Distance To Finish (DTF) but sailing closer to Kingfisher’s track in the north.

Fila, racing the southerly path with Sill, is a mile behind Ecover on DTF but with the fleet’s tracks converging, they will soon share the same breeze and a clearer comparison will emerge as a boatspeed battle breaks out.