The Kent-based boat builder is first Brit while Cape turns back with broken rudder

Never will some of the skippers have wished that the term “all in the same boat” was true as the the Mini fleet all take a battering from the 35 – 40 knot headwinds they are currently enduring.

Paul Peggs on Blue One is still in the top twenty and the leading ‘Roast Beef’ although the true positions are difficult to trace as they only relate to straight line distance to the finish and take no account of the tactical positioning of the boats. On this point Paul appears to have altered course and rather than continue west to clear the depression and the expected favourable windshift, has begun to take in some southerly track closer to the rhum line (straight line from A to B) – which from the land looks like a potential error, however there might be reasons on board that could have decided his variation from the previously course held… that is the beauty and the beastliness of the Mini where contact with the shore is forbidden and no outside assistance is allowed…

What results is a kind of pantomime where the audience is shouting “behind you, behind you” to a seemingly deaf fool on stage.

The bad news is that Andrew Cape, surely one of the best sailors in the World, appears to have a problem and is now rudderless – the rudder system on Aberdeen Asset Management was unique in the Mini fleet (single canting rudder with a lifting blade) and this attempt to innovate so radically may have been tested to its limit so severe are the conditions.

Although a number of boats have either failed to start so far or have returned to Concarneau or other ports, none has required emergency assistance – testament to the safety regulations now in place for the Mini. These may be small, extreme boats but they are designed for big ocean racing.