There's only 77 miles between first and last position in the Calais Round Britain and Ireland Race 8/6/07

Vincent Riou and team on PRB have picked up the pace in the Calais Round Britain and Ireland Race, stretching their lead on Jean Le Cam (VM Materiaux) by 12 miles. Dominique Wavre on Temenos holds on in third place, only four miles behind.

The fleet is in Scottish waters, beating against a stable north-easterly breeze as they make their way towards the Shetlands.

Riou and Wavre are taking a central course while Jean Le Cam, Yann Elies (Generali), Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) hug the coastline. Dee Caffari on Aviva sits at the bottoom of the fleet, 77 miles behind the leader. The fleet is currently navigating the passage of the archipelago of Saint Kilda, a small piece of land to the West of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides.

Last night Dominique Wavre on Temenos reported: “We lost a few miles on a tack we made in the latter part of Wednesday afternoon, whilst our little playmates remained on the other tack visibly benefiting from a better wind. It’s a very fine line either way sometimes. Since then Temenos has made up a bit of ground, which is always welcome. Everyone is on the same course, there’s no option to be had. It’s a straight drag race pure and simple. You have to plug away hour by hour to gain a few tenths of a knot.”

Jonny Malbon on Artemis Ocean Racing has dropped to fifth position, 19 miles behind Jérémie Beyou on Delta Dore. The crew’s spirits were high last night after a strong first half of the race, but as Malbon reports: “the other boats will be pushing just as hard as us and there is still a long way to go.”