Jourdain still retains Calais Round Britain and Ireland lead but Golding is snapping at his heels

After being less than a mile apart at Bishop Rock, turning the ‘corner’ at the Scillies to start the sprint across the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock, Mike Golding’s Ecover is pursuing Roland Jourdain’s Sill et Veolia which stole an 8.7 mile jump on Ecover during a wet, windy and bumpy night.

Golding reported this morning: “It’s been an interesting night. We’ve had a bit of everything – some hard upwind sailing and some fast reaching. Things are brightening up a bit now and we are starting to see a little bit of blue sky.”

Ecover is closing fast on the Fastnet rock, with less than 60 miles to go, reaching and waiting for the change in wind direction which will allow them to ease sheets a little more and pick up speed. Golding continued: “We keep getting indication that the wind will lift us but then it heads us again which is a bit frustrating, but we are in good shape.” Golding believes that Sill slipped inside them at Bishop Rock last night. Although they were less than a mile apart at one point they saw nothing of their French rivals. He continued: “We stood a little further off because it was very lumpy and there are some big overfalls there. Now we are just a little out of phase with the windshifts but we should be able to hold our distance on them [Sill].”

While a tough upwind slog was predicted when the race started on Sunday, Golding and his team are now looking forward to the prospect of some fast reaching and downwind sailing down the west coast of Ireland and Scotland.

“Now it looks like it might hold for us to push right to the Shetlands which would be nice. We had a little bit of speed on at times last night, but nothing special. We’d like to do a bit more of that. The wind will go light as we near the centre of the depression.”

At the moment the west coast is shaping up to be a straight line race down the rhumb line (most direct route). “There appears to be no reason to do anything other than sail the rhumb line, which is fine by us at the moment.”

Ecover hit some floating debris during the night. “We had an impact with something but it did not slow us, but it did get the bow, the daggerboard and the rudder so it was a good one, but a fast impact. There is no damage but there was a lot of junk around.”