In the multihull fleet speeds are averaging between 20-25 knots in the 40 knot winds

Multihull Fleet

Bonduelle (Le Cam/Caraes) is leading the multihull fleet by eight miles ahead of the more westerly positioned trimarans Belgacom (Nélias/Desjoyeaux) and Fujifilm (Peyron/Le Mignon). In the last 24 hours they have clocked 501.8 miles. Speeds are averaging between 20-25 knots in the 40 knot winds as they blast downwind faster than the waves themselves, planting their bows in the crest of water ahead. Skipper Jean-Luc Nélias described life on board Belgacom: “The sea was big last night with 40 knots of wind, we’ve been surfing, trying to control the boat and avoid pitching it into the waves too much. Bonduelle is heading further east but I prefer to be here.”

The top older generation boats are not far behind. Kingfisher-Foncia (Gautier/MacArthur) retain fifth place, with Groupama (Cammas/Ravussin) just ahead in fourth. The only all-girl team on Pindar Systems (Richards/Von Koskull) has made good progress, with a lead of 10 miles over Gitana IX (Duprey/Denis) gained overnight.

Monohull Fleet

At 1000 Ecover (Golding/Hutchinson) had superseded Sill Plein Fruit (Jourdain/Le Cleac’h) to lead the Open 60 monohull fleet by just three miles, which has since increased to five miles at midday. British skipper Mike Golding summed up: “We’ve got a north-easterly breeze of 35 knots and steep, short seas. We’ve had two serious broaches, which is unusual for this boat. But we’re going at 22 knots right now. There’s still an advantage to keep more west, but it’s a hard call, I don’t know how long we’ll hold this lead.” Golding just reported in that they narrowly missed hitting a whale surfing at 24 knots over a wave.

Casto-Darty-But (Moloney/Turner) holds onto third place, trailing the leader by 25 miles at the 1000hrs polling. They reported 25 knots and the same “rough routine” of “hurtling down pretty steep waves into the pitch black”. They have been closely match-racing (Gallay/De Pavant), this morning pointing just three miles ahead of their French predator.

In the Open 50s, One Dream-One Mission (Bennett/Larsen) is steadily pushing out a big lead of 45 miles over Italians Tredicci (Accati/Stefani) and ahead of 4 Open 601s, really ‘smoking’ as Australian Paul Larsen wrote this morning. “Speed is constantly hitting mid-twenties with the best being at 27 beautiful knots.” There is still a lot of experimenting as they have been changing their front sails after furler problems and putting in a reef for a control check in the building conditions.

Multihull Positions at 1200hrs French time

1 Bonduelle

2 Belgacom

3 Fujifilm

Open 60 Monohull Positions at 1015hrs GMT

1 Ecover

2 Sill Plein Fruit

3 Casto – Darty – But

Open 50 Monohull Positions at 1045hrs GMT

1 One Dream

2 Tredici