Jean Le Cam and team aboard Bonduelle have taken small lead in the Calais Round Britain and Ireland Race

The three leading boats in the Calais Round Britain and Ireland Race – Jean le Cam’s Bonduelle, Roland Jourdain’s Sill et Veolia, and Mike Golding’s Ecover – are still neck and neck as they make rapid progress up the western side of the British Isles in 20kts of wind.

Although Mike Golding and team on Ecover managed to regain the lead over night and still held the advantage as they passed offshore of Black Rock lighthouse on the north west tip of Ireland dawn this morning, the latest positions show that Le Cam on Bonduelle has taken a five-mile lead.

Vincent Riou, winner of the Vendee Globe has been assessing the situation and believes there’ll be no relent in the tricky weather conditions over the next few days, commenting: ” The situation is very unstable. There are two depression centres passing over the fleet today. There’s going to be a lot of work! There will be some occluded fronts, a south-easterly wind backing south-west behind the front. It’s fairly messy and complicated.

“In these conditions there are some little gains to be made under the clouds. The crews will have to keep an eye on the situation as there’s not really any tool available to help them with that. It’s too localised. If they can manage to follow the depression centres by satellite photo that may allow them to avoid making any mistakes.

“Above all you need to constantly muse over all the information so as to analyse and understand the meaning of the slightest wind shift. By shifting two or three miles away from the others, things could develop very quickly. It’s going to be very tactical and a bit tense aboard. It is a highly risky situation which they can’t afford to mess up. If one of the trio manages to head off with the depression and the wind drops off behind, it could create some significant gaps. Even though there will be other opportunities to group back together later on, this may be a turning point in the race.”