The race leaders, now in the Irish Sea, are experiencing an unlikely problem

A third of the Fastnet fleet have retired after being battered by an overnight southwesterly gale. There have been dismastings, minor injuries and seasickness. But for the leaders, now ’round the corner’ and into the Irish Sea there is a new problem – lack of wind, which is a bit ironic in the light of the horrific forecasts over the weekend.

At 06.30 this morning ICAP Leopard, Mike Slade’s 100 foot canting keeler was recording just 1.2 knots boat speed and Hugo Boss 3.7 knots, with wind speed at the Lizard a bare 7 knots from the south west.

However, they should not have long to wait before the fireworks start again. The Shipping Forecast offers S to SW 5 – 7, occasionally 8 for Plymouth and 5 – 7 for Fastnet. Looking further ahead similar conditions can be expected for the next 24 hours, perhaps increasing to Force 8 and then decreasing and veering to the northwest which could produce those dangerous seas Mike Broughton described when Elaine Bunting spoke to him yesterday.