Mike Golding and Bruno Dubois on Ecover head the IMOCA fleet in Transat Jacques Vabre 4/11/07

Following a one-hour delay, the monohull fleet in the 8th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre set off in a light-north easterly breeze from Le Havre yesterday.

British sailor Mike Golding and Bruno Dubois on the brand-new Owen Clarke designed Ecover took an early lead in the 4,340-mile race from Le Havre to Bahia de Salvador, Brazil. They stormed off the start line in the 17-strong IMOCA monohull fleet yesterday but this afternoon Kito de Pavant and Sebastien Col have moved to the head of the fleet and currently have a slim lead over Golding and Dubois, and Armel le Cleac’h and Nicolas Troussel on Brit Air.

In the Class 40 fleet Bruno Jourdren and Nicolas Pichelin on Vector-Plus Groupe Moniteur are just managing to hold off Yvan Noblet and Patrick Morvan on Vector-Plus Groupe Moniteur, while British sailor Peter Harding and co-skipper Anne Liardet on 40 Degrees are not far behind in fifth. Jo Royale and Alexia Barrier on Pindar 40 are currently storming along doing 7.7kts just a mile or so off the leader.

The multihulls set off from Le Havre today and Franck Cammas and Steve Ravussin currently lead the ORMA 60 going into their first night at sea while Franck Yves Escoffier and Karine Fauconnier on Crèpes Whaou! have control of Class 50.