Leading four break from pack but more light winds ahead. Caffari currently best British 4/6/07

After a light, foggy start yesterday afternoon the 11-strong Calais Round Britain and Ireland Race fleet are now tracking their way westwards along the Channel heading towards Land’s End in a northerly breeze.

Jean Le Camm has broken through into the lead with initial race leader Vincent Riou (PRB), Dominique Wavre (Temenos), Bernard Stamm (Cheminees Poujoulat) close behind. These four, in a stronger wind band, have pulled out a 30-mile lead over the following group but the latest forecast shows there’s a massive high pressure zone situated over Ireland which means they’re likely to hit another light patch tomorrow.

The best British team, just 57 miles behind the leader, is Aviva – Dee Caffari. Caffari and team comprising Nigel King, Laurent Mahy, Simon Clarke and Liz Wardley are, as the most northerly positioned boat, hugging the south coast of England. Caffari, from the boat last night, reported: “We had a busy first few hours with many sail changes and gybes as the wind moved and varied so much in wind speed. After we had a great sail along the coast bathed in sunshine, we headed out with the fleet along the English Channel trying to make the fastest course to Bishop Rock. As we reached the middle of the shipping lanes the fog rolled in once more and yet again the wind changed. Now struggling with light airs we concentrated on keeping Aviva moving and listening out for fog horns from passing ships.”

Jonny Malbon and team aboard Artemis Ocean Racing are just under five miles behind Aviva but are tracking off away from the shore with the likes of Sam Davies (Roxy) – in eighth – and Jérémie Beyou (Delta Dore). It’ll be interesting to see their progress over the next few hours.

In this morning’s log from team Artemis Malbon spoke of the conditions: “?still a long way to go and the conditions are still very demanding and those positions will change all the time. We are sailing this morning in sunny weather which makes a great change. There are several boats around us so today will be another full on mission. We are just south of the Isle of Wight right now and we have been discussing the possibility of popping in for a few beers, but that will have to wait. All in all a great first day, and we are going to try our best to stay on the leader board.”