Fujifilm is breaking up, Conrad Humphreys has been dismasted, and Ellen moves into the lead

Last night at 1930GMT Loïck Peyron called for assistance as his trimaran Fujifilm began to break up. One float has disintegrated and the other was badly damaged in his dismasting yesterday and is filled with water. Meanwhile, Yvan Bourgnon and Francis Joyon are still both surviving in the upturned hulls of their trimarans and waiting to be taken off to safety. Shore teams are trying to get to them but conditions are still bad and south-westerly gales are about to hit the fleet again.

Yesterday many of the trimarans were sailing under bare poles. The situation has not improved much overnight and those still racing are largely racing under storm staysail.

In the monohull classes, there has been another dismasting. Conrad Humphreys’s HelloMoto lost her rig at 0100GMT this morning. He is reportedly uninjured and well and is heading back to land.

Humphrey has had a succession of problems since the start (see our earlier report of yesterday). Although it is probably not connected, these problems have included a failure of the hydraulic system that operates the canting mast.

On a more positive note, Ellen MacArthur has moved up to 1st place in the 60ft monohull class, ahead of Mike Golding. Golding broke a daggerboard yesterday, a problem he described as “very boring” but about which he sounded reasonably relaxed. He is only five miles behind Ellen on distance to go.

Behind them, Bilou has slipped back considerably, and Sill is now some 150 miles adrift. This definitely suggests a major problem on board but as yet there is no news from him.

Miranda Merron continues to do a fantastic job in her 60 UUDS and is lying 6th today. She is well ahead of rivals such as Patrick de Radigues, who has more solo racing experience and is in a very much quicker boat.

In the 50ft class, Nick Moloney Ashfield Healthcare continues in to lead as he has done virtually since the start.

Some of the trimarans that made stops are started racing again yesterday but very soon retreated back to port to avoid further damage. Frederic Le Peutrec’s Bayer CropSciences left after repairs to his autopilots, but returned to La Trinité for shelter. Jean Le Cam on Bonduelle did the same, while Jean Luc Nélias on Belgacom is waiting until later today or Friday until the worst of the weather passes.

Marc Guillemot on Biscuits La Trinitaine Team Ethypharm has announced that he will make a pit stop when he reaches the Azores to repair sail damage.