Ellen, Nick and the crew of Kingfisher have rocketed away from the chasing pack and are now preparing for their arrival in Baltimore and their first victory in the EDS Atlantic Challenge

At 0749 this morning, Kingfisher was a mere 267 miles from the finish line, making nine knots and charging away from the chasing pack in the third leg of the EDS Atlantic Challenge. Everyone onboard is stoked about leading and as keen as when the gun went to race as hard as conditions allow.

“As we went on deck for the 0300-0600 we were met by a superb starry night and a half moon positioned conveniently on the forestay, so surfing to the moon we went,” sai Ellen. “As we clicked off 50 miles in the three hours (the equivalent of nine hours last week), we were slowed only by one event when we had to stop and then reverse the boat to clear something that had wrapped itself around the keel. New York city is 300 miles due west of us – but I know where we’d all rather be.

“Our main obstacle is a high pressure system that will move to block our path, but we’ve now got a bit of margin on the guys behind as well so we’ll have to see how it pans out – it’s not over until it’s over. But, for now, we’re not complaining as we enjoy the surfing, hang out the thermals to air and push hard for that finish line.”

Sill, winner of the two previous legs ahead of Kingfisher, is 170 miles behind and struggling with a very secondhand mainsail and a jury-rigged forestay.

Ecover has no reported problems onboard and she was expected to excel in the downwind conditions that currently prevail but for reasons yet to emerge, Mike Golding’s downwind flyer has yet to get off the ground. She still has 44 miles to go before second place is secure and an insurmountable 217 miles if she wants a sniff of first place.

Gartmore is making the best progress anywhere in the fleet but she still trails Ecover by 260 miles. The only scenario now that could win a third place podium position for Gartmore is if Sill breaks something that either slows them dramatically or knocks them out of the leg entirely. That would move Ecover into second and Gartmore into third.

The AlphaGraphics team, still in sunkissed, tradewind-swept latitudes, is not seeing its distance to the leaders drop any longer. Once down in the high 800-mile range, they are now more than 1,000 miles behind. The race they running now is one against the restart clock. They will need to get to Baltimore by 4 August in order to prepare for the start of the fourth leg – a sprint from Baltimore to Boston – on 6 August. If anyone fancies a tanning contest, however??