The lead skippers will be reaching for more layers as they approach the roaring forties

The three leading Vendée Globe boats now stand at 39 degrees south – on the cusp of the Forties – while the next pack of four has plunged further south and are already there. It is time to pull out their southern ocean clothing.

Those showing the way – Seb Josse (BT), Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) and Yann Elies (Generali) – seem agreed on heading east. However, their tracks suggest a slightly different methodology for getting there: Josse’s track is smooth; Peyron’s shows constant adjustment; and Generali sailed the sharpest corner.

Behind them Armel Le Cleac’h (Brit Air) and Vincent Riou (PRB) have been matching each other virtually wave by wave, and are currently heading south-east, as is Bilou (Veolia Environment). All are currently averaging around 15 knots. Between the two groups Mike Golding (Ecover) has been making ground to the east, and is now heading south-east, less than 100 miles behind the leaders.

After skirting close to the high yesterday, Sam Davies on Roxy (GBR) is now gaining miles to the south and is picking up speed again. Elsewhere there is a general movement to the east right across the fleet, following the high as it tracks north-east.

Michel Desjoyeaux has gained another place in this morning’s (0400h GMT) rankings. After joking about eating British skippers for breakfast yesterday, he had a Swiss sailor as an early morning snack, moving further east of Dominique Wavre to pass him in the position reports and climb into 11th place.

Having abandoned his plans to anchor off the island of Trinidade, Raphaël Dinelli is currently about 500 miles off the coast of Brazil in Fondation Océan Vital, and is still seeking a suitable stopping point to repair his main halyard.