French team Groupama lead the fleet as they near the most northern part of the course

Photo courtesy of Paul Wyeth/RORC

Groupama have taken pole position in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, as the web site tracker has them nearer to the finish than Telefonica Azul. It will have been a cold, wet night on board, with the 70-foot round the world race boats, smashing through the waves.

The French team took a more westerly line than their Spanish rivals but may well fall behind them to round Muckle Flugga. The two carbon fibre speed machines are now locked into a duel to reach the most northern part of the course. Muckle Flugga, north of Unst in the Shetland Islands, is further north of the equator, than Cape Horn is south.

The wind speed is still 20 knots, gusting up to 25 but the wind direction is now a chilly northwesterly, too shy for a spinnaker. However, the Volvo Open 70s are romping through the waves, at speeds of up to 15 knots.

There is also a new overall leader under IRC, Piet Vroon’s Dutch Ker 46,Tonnerre de Breskens (pictured) taking the lead, on corrected time, shortly before midnight. Tonnerre de Breskens was designed for this sort of race and will have enjoyed the new change of wind direction, far more than the TP52, John Merricks II, which is now in second place overall under IRC.

To follow the fleet, visit

You can now follow Yachting World on Twitter.

Subscribe to Yachting World magazine for all the latest racing news and reviews