The Spanish boat heads the fleet but fails to extend on lead overnight

Telefonica Blue continues to lead Leg 6, but have not extended any further from the chasing pack overnight. The blue boat’s skipper Bouwe Bekking was first into the trade winds, and as such added to their advantage in the first 24 hours. However he believes the fleet will compress again as soon as Telefónica Blue starts sailing in lighter airs.

On Green Dragon, Ian Walker stated: “It’s been an exciting 24 hours for us. First we gained lots of miles in the doldrums getting within sight of Ericsson 3 and Telefonica Black at one stage and then we had a third and final visit from King Neptune as this is the first time James Carroll has ever sailed across the Equator.

“Back on the race track the Doldrums had plenty of rain clouds and sail changes but the bottom line was we kept moving well in the right direction most of the time. It was crucial that we went well through this stage as four days of power reaching lie ahead of us.

“We are now settled into reaching in 20 knot NE Trade winds which means we can rattle off over 400 miles per day straight at Boston – something that is unusual for this race so far.

“We have just broken the bearings in the starboard steering system but replacements are onboard and being fitted as I type. Clearly a whole week on the same tack was too much for it! The next few days should be tactically tedious but nice sailing.”

Positions – Sunday 19 April 2009

1. Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) DTF 2,564 nm
3. Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) 105 nm
2. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) 110 nm
4. PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) 112 nm
5. Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) 127 nm
6. Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermúdez/ESP) 149 nm
7. Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) 149 nm
8. Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS