Leading Route du Rhum Class 40 sailor Phil Sharp increases lead and Ian Munslow slips into 3rd 15/11/06

Phil Sharp, leader of Class 40 in the Route du Rhum, has made his biggest gains of the race so far and now leads Gildas Morvan by 121 miles. Sharp has just 239 miles to go to the finish in Guadeloupe and has now picked up the breeze he’s been expecting and is now on the layline to the finish.

Great news also is that fellow British sailor in Class 40 Ian Munslow on his Owen Clarke Class 40 Bolands Mill has moved up into third place. Munslow’s westerly option appears to have paid off for the time being but he is very much aware that zones of light air ahead will become increasingly problematic as he nears the finish.

In a conversation with Allen Clark of Owen Clark Designs this morning Muslow said: “Up to 3rd on the ranking now, which is nice hey? Had a good night with the big spi up all the time, very few squalls so no heart stopping moments worrying about tearing the spi. I cranked the stereo up as loud as it would go, pumped up some dance tunes and set to fixing the code zero… now, I am not a sailmaker so I have done the best can with the gear I have on board and my small amount of knowledge. I just have to hope that the job will hold… fingers crossed.. it took ages, probably 5-6 hours but time is pretty irrelevant out here.

“The next job is to go back up the rig and re-rig the 2:1 halyard and have a look at what caused the chafe in the first place. the boat seems to go well in these conditions, but I know once I get the zero rigged up again we are on the money – that was apparent from the boat speed I had at the start in St Malo.”

Elsewhere on the racecourse, IMOCA, Marc Guillemot (Safran) has finally finished taking seventh place from Anne Liardet (Roxy). Liardet, who’s suffered with autopilot problems since the start of the race, is still stuck in the light airs just 25 miles from the finish line so should finish within the next hour or so.