Bernard Stamm increases lead while Mike Golding and Alex Thomson continue battle of Britain 21/11/06

Yesterday Velux 5 Oceans Race leader Bernard Stamm reported a problems with a halyard aboard Cheminées Poujoulat but this seems to have done nothing to affect his pace. He entered the Indian Ocean after crossing the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, late last night and has maintained the highest average speed in in the fleet over the past 24 hours clocking up 14.76 knots.

Reporting from the boat yesterday Stamm summed up the conditions: “This morning I had 30 knots of wind and it was impossible to roll my Code 5 to be able to lower it? The waves are enormous and when I’m surfing, the noise is surprising. When I take a surfing that starts with a whistle, ‘phewwww’, then comes a ‘donn, donnn, doh doohh dooohh’ when I descend the wave to more than 20 nodes, before finishing with enormous ‘a dobahhhhh’ when my stem strikes the following wave?”

Alex Thomson who broke through into second place over the weekend has had to trottle back slightly in the big winds consequently losing just under 60 miles to the leader since yesterday evening. In his latest log Thomson reported: “Yesterday was painful for me, under-sailing the boat and watching the miles between Golding, and Koji, and Hugo Boss get smaller and smaller. I guess it was the right thing to do as I have not broken anything, and last night was fun when the sail plan I had up came into range and the breeze climbed to 45 knots.”

Mike Golding on Ecover is going for the kill hunting down Thomson every inch of the way. He’s taken a sharp dive south, and now hangs off Thomson’s starboard quarter just 58 miles behind. The next few hours could be interesting.

Fourth-placed Kojiro Shiraishi on Spirit of Yukoh took a decision to stay further north, above the safety gate at Latitude 42S but has lost miles on Golding overnight in terms of Distance To Leader. A message from the Japanese skipper highlighted the conditions down south commenting: “Outside the skies are now always dark and leaden. Today, for the first time returning into the cabin after some hard work on deck, I could see my breath in the cold air. We have the Antarctic air with us now.”