British sailor Sam Davies sits in third place in the Trophée BPE, but the leading pack face lighter winds for the next week as they head towards Cuba

British sailor Sam Davies has moved to third place in the Trophée BPE as the leading pack heads through the Caribbean towards Cuba.

Skandia has been gaining on leading boat Credit Maritime-Zerotwo over the past few days who is just 30.3nm ahead. Sam has also narrowed the gap between Skandia and second place Bostik to 14.8nm. But from behind, Gildas Morvan on Cercle Vert in fourth is closing fast and is now only 11nm behind.

As the wind lightens for the front runners the boats behind look set to catch up, arriving with a new and stronger breeze. As the leaders get closer to land, the vagaries of the local weather will come into play combined with a forecast of lighter winds will make the next stage of the race highly tactical and exhausting.

Earlier this morning, Skandia was on a dead downwind run to the next waypoint south of the Turks and Caicos islands but in her 1000hrs (BST) daily phonecall with her shore team, Skandia was in the midst of a thunderstorm sailing through rain and lightening in pitch darkness making only two to four knots of boatspeed. Sam said: “It is really difficult to tell which shift is going to last, and which shift is just for five minutes.”

Once through this passage, Skandia will cross Guantanamo Bay rounding the south coast of Cuba before heading towards the finish port of Cienfuegos.

This passage marks the end of the Atlantic crossing for the 12 skippers as they enter the Caribbean sea. There’s still another 600nm to go to the finish line.

Heading towards Cuba in unknown territory the fleet will need to keep an eye out for passing ships, fishing vessels, cruising boats and possibly pirates. The last 200nm of the course in particular is littered with dangerous reefs, and underwater sea-mounts which could provide interesting sea conditions.

It seems Sam has come across some strange ships already. As she wrote in her emails:

“I have just passed a really weird ship, that was pretty big, but when I got closer it seemed to have masts and sails! Either it is Johnny Depp and his Pirates, or it is the beginning of the luxury cruising liners that we see here! I think it was probably the latter, as I am sure that Johnny Depp would not have nav lights!”