Roland Jourdain has consolidated his position within the IMOCA class with an advance of 76 miles on second placed Armel Le Cléac'h

While the fourth placed competitor of Ultimate Class finishes (Yann Guichard on the route record holding Gitana XI) it’s a tactical battle for the IMOCA Open 60’s Class, which is at times painfully slow, testing skippers’ patience and durability. But the for the moment it remains Roland Jourdain who is in control, consolidating his position neatly with an advance of 76 miles on Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air).

The main group are dealing with the equivalent of a meteorological marsh, a barometric bog which traps the unwary or unlucky for hours in sticky pools of calm.

With just under 340 miles to go to the finish and a protective zone of light winds and calm fencing off the islands, it is going to be a case of finding and knitting together the corridors of breeze to get down to Guadeloupe.

Jourdain is pleased to have the fleet directly behind him, that is with the exception of the duo in the east – Michel Desjoyeaux and Arnaud Boissières. Bet even they are now further behind Jourdain than he has to sail to the finish. The Akena Vérandas skipper has recently only made 95 miles in 24 hours.

In second Armel Le Cléac’h is known as the Jackal, for his dogged persistence, sticking close and ready to pounce if an opportunity presents itself.

What is certainly good for the breadth of competition of the IMOCA class is seeing the 2007 launched duo, the Farr designed Veolia Environnement 2, and the Finot designed Brit Air, proving so far that it is seemingly not essential to have a latest generation IMOCA Open 60 boat to do well.

The leaders are now expected at Point-à-Pitre on Saturday or Sunday.

In the Multi 50 Class the fortunes of the pair of skippers who sustained damage in robust sea conditions four days ago proved very different today. Three times winner Franck Yves Escoffier (Crêpes Whaou!) made the tough decision to abandon his race, a very tough decision. But after more than 10 hours inside the hull of his Actual, and a subsequent 12 hours drying inside, Yves le Blevec reported that he has been successful in manually pumping out some 4000 litres of water and securing the main hull.

After managing to partially stabilise his cracked cross beam, le Blevec is now in much better shape to complete the final 950 miles to the finish.

Lalou Roucayrol (Région Aquitaine – Port Médoc) still leads the class but has 2006 winner and course record holder Lionel Lemonchois (Prince de Bretagne) now closed to within 54 miles, making more than 10 knots faster than Roucayrol this afternoon.

In the Class 40 fleet, the dominant Thomas Ruyant (Destination Dunkerque) appears set to extend his lead again as the first to pass a ridge of light winds. He has been slowed with his lead trimmed back by Yvan Noblet (Appart City) to just over 40 miles.

Now with the most southern position of the fleet, Britain’s Peter Goss in 15th on DMS admitted today that his option could be ‘champagne or sackcloth.’

The Rhum fleet is lead by Andrea Mura, the Sardinian solo skipper on the Open 50 Vento di Sardegna, which was designed by the Italian Umberto Felci and competed in the 2000-1 Vendée Globe as Wind Telecommuncations, racing round the world in 159 days.

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