Mike Golding looks at who's gaining, who's suffering and predicts the Artemis Transat race record will be broken

Mike Golding looks at the frontrunners of the Artemis Transat Race and second guesses who’s gaining – and who’s suffering:

‘Clearly the front group have been enjoying some fast sailing, with more wind than was actually forecasted. This has enabled this pack to move away from the rest of the fleet.

‘Yann Elies(Generali) is gambling on being able to maintain her speed in the north but the forecast would indicate that it will be better conditions for longer to the south whereSeb Josse(BT),Vincent Riou(PRB),Michel Desjoyeaux(Foncia) andLoick Peyron(Gitana) are situated.

‘In 24 hours or so the leaders will cross an area of lighter breeze. It will be worse and slower for boats on the right-hand side of the fleet so the question is – how much distance will be lost by Generalli to the more southerly group? I would guess too much!

‘Armel Le Cleac’h(Britair) is clinging to the tail of the lead group whilstSam Davies(Roxy) leads the second pack ahead ofArnaud Bossieres(Akena) andMarc Guillemot(Safran).

‘Guillemot looks like he is having a really tough time of it and I doubt we are hearing the whole story as he is much slower than we could expect – sailing a 2008 IMOCA 60 60 with any physical damage is hard and a broken rib will really hurt in every way.

‘At the rear of the IMOCA 60 fleetSteve White(Spirit o Weymouth) has done well in the north but again ultimately he may have to pay for this separation, as above.

‘Dee Caffari(Aviva) is having to come to terms with the power and complexity of Aviva compared with her previous boat. It must be frustrating for her but it was good to hear her sounding so perky on the daily radio show yesterday.

‘These guys are having a blisteringly fast race, clocking up some impressive speeds. I guess that they are on for beating the record time as past the ridge they continue to see similar conditions to the ice gate.

‘The law of averages means that the last 1,000 miles may well revert to type with a bitterly cold slog to windward.’

Photo by Thierry Martinez