Virbac has taken a 90-mile lead over Sill in the TJV Open 60 monohull fleet

Still a good 650m north of the Cape Verde Islands, Virbac has made superior progress overnight in the Open 60 monohull fleet in the Jacques Vabre. Their boatspeed has never dropped below 10 knots whereas everyone else’s never got above 10 knots as Dick and Abiven skirted the high pressure zone and are now on a SW heading in search of the Trades on the inside track and 92m in front. Talking about his speed Jean-Pierre Dick commented: “We’ve experienced that in a short period of time you can lose control of everything and go very quickly from pleasurable sailing to a total mess. We did reach 21 knots last night under spi, but then a gust came through and we were on the edge a bit, the aft guardrail got damaged in the end when the mainsheet pulley broke apart.” Once the leaders hit the trades, it will be downwind surfing all the way to the Doldrums 1,350m away, and not much except technical problems on the boat itself is going to be able to impede Virbac’s progress at the head of the fleet.

Other news this morning is that Sill charged into second place to the west and at 0900gmt was 27m ahead of Ecover. Brian Thompson described the last 24 hours on Ecover and how they have got trapped in the high pressure system: “Now we’re paying a big penalty for losing miles last night because we stuck in the high pressure. Forecast conditions are continuing light, northeast winds, maybe 5-6-7 knots. Unfortunately we’re in a place where the high-pressure ridge is moving south with us, so we are always in light winds. We didn’t quite escape it yesterday when we could have done, so I think Virbac are going to have a very big lead.”

In the multihull class Groupama is still out in the lead 46m ahead of now Sergio Tacchini, and only Belgacom and Geant are in touch still with these two leaders as now Sodebo has risen to head up the nect flank but with 140 miles deficit on 4th placed Belagacom.