The VOR is hotting up on the drag race south. ABN AMRO still holds the lead but Brasil 1 overtakes Ericsson

As ABN AMRO ONE (Mike Sanderson) continues to steal a march on the chasing pack in the charge south on leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race, the race for second place is as tight as ever.

At 0400 GMT this morning, Brasil 1 (Torben Grael) slipped past Ericsson (Neal McDonald) to take up second position 74 miles behind the leader, and was just two nautical miles ahead of Ericsson, with ABN AMRO TWO (Sebastien Josse) in fourth, just eight nm behind.

ABN AMRO ONE has now reached the half way stage in this 6,400 nm leg to Cape Town and is driving relentlessly south in search of the stronger westerly winds that flow over the far southern reaches of the Atlantic Ocean. She is now 236 nm off the Brazilian coast, 300 north-east of Salvador.

At 1000 GMT this morning, Brasil 1, the most easterly of the bunch by 18 nm, and Ericsson, in the middle of the pack east to west, continue to fight it out. Brasil 1 has increased her margin to five miles, although Ericsson has the edge on speed. ABN AMRO has slipped slightly, but her speed is the same as Ericsson and she is the most westerly of the trio.

Sunergy and Friends has started to move again after very frustrating 24 hours when they were only able to achieve 122 nautical miles at an average speed of 5.1 knots.