Round Britain and Ireland Race leaders Jean Le Cam and Vincent Riou break away from pack, but for how long? 5/6/07

The leading two yachts in the Calais Round Britain and Ireland Race – VM Matériaux (Jean Le Cam) and PRB (Vincent Riou) – are now sailing neck and neck in a 15kt northerly with just over one nautical mile between the two.

Dominique Wavre on Temenos, still in third place, has lost out overnight and now trails the leader by nearly 20 miles but is currently in more breeze so could make up some distance in the next few hours.

Interestingly in the light, tricky breeze there have been no position changes in the top six boats but Dee Caffari and team on Aviva and Jonny Malbon and team on Artemis are now just two miles apart in 5th and 6th place respectively – 108 miles off the leader. Now in the Irish Sea the British duo are on opposite tacks with Artemis currently making fractionally better speed.

Yann Eliès (Generali) and Alexandre Toulorge (Maisonneuve) at the rear of the fleet are now trailing by nearly 200 miles but according to the latest forecast the situation is likely to change very soon.

The northerly wind is due to clock progressively east by midday which means that the leaders will start to experience light conditions after Fastnet Rock. With the high pressure zone situated slap-bang over the England and Ireland over the next few days, the chances of a race fleet reshuffle are looking more and more likely. Dee Caffari commenting on her log this morning confirmed the situation by saying: “?something tells me this is going to be a long race.”