Yesterday afternoon Charles Caudrelier (Bostik Findley) had taken a narrow lead over Yann Eliès (Groupe Générali Assurances) in the Solitaire du Figaro

Charles Caudrelier (Bostik Findley) has taken a narrow lead over Yann Eliès (Groupe Générali Assurances) and rounded the Burela mark off the northern coast of Spain in the lead la Solitaire du Figaro.

Yesterday the three leading boats are battling it out to reach the finish line on a 434-mile course. The long awaited for low-pressure front finally appeared giving Charles Caudrelier the easterly, south-easterly wind he bargained for when placing himself on a more southerly course. Erwan Tabarly (Thalès) and Yann Eliès followed 18 minutes 7 seconds and 19 minutes 12 seconds later respectively.

Yann commented: “Naturally I am a little disappointed, I went in search of the low front that I did not see materialise and I failed whilst Charles gained the lead. I missed a good chance of gaining in the overall positions time. We are now sailing under spinnaker in winds gusting up to 30kts, giving us surfing speeds of 16-17kts. I am going to try and chase my friend Charly?the competition is still on.”

There is a 75-mile run from Burela to the finish line in Gijon. The leaders, averaging 10kts and Jérémie Beyou (Delta Dore), fourth to round the Burela mark, is already over eight miles behind and fellow skipper and 2002 winner, Armel le Cléac’h is 17 miles behind Charles Caudrelier.

Liz Wardley (Kookai-eol) suffered her second dismasting of the race early yesterday morning. At 05h10m (French Time) Christian Bos (Raynal & Roquelaure) was able to warn the Bayer Safety Boat that Liz had called in to say she was dismasted. He was also able to tell them that the mast was broken and that she had managed to secure it on board by herself.

The French naval ship follow PSP Cormoran, that is following the fleet changed heading to meet Liz in order help and to give her sufficient fuel to reach port. The marines on board, who have been following her progress throughout the race, gave her some extra food in an attempt to boost her shattered morale.

Liz later explained that her mast snapped at 03h30 in rough seas in 22kt winds. She does not understand what happened?she then hauled aboard the broken parts of her mast secured her rig and boat alone, only then did she call out for help.

Liz, unable to start her engine is now being towed the 76 miles to Gijon by the Bayer Medical Boat.

The latest report indicates that Charles Caudrelier is closing in on the finish and is expected towards 21h30 Sunday evening.

Sam Davies (Skandia) did not call in her latest position on the last report, however she was 28th yesterday afternoon.