A fortnight of racing and there's little to separate the fleets
All four classes are on a direct route to the finish. The Ocean Fifty multihulls lead the race with just 645 miles to the finish line but the doldrums await them for a second time as the Ultimes and IMOCAs close in.
Class 40 - all to race for
If you look at the Class 40 fleet on the tracker it looks like they've re-started the race with most bunched south of the Cape Verde islands and heading west. They're picking up the north-easterly trade winds and have lined up on starboard tack, bows turned towards the finish.
Redman have a ten-mile advantage on second-placed Volvo, both boats that have consistently led over the past weeks. However, just behind them the passage through the islands has shuffled the pack with some new boats coming to the fore. Franco-Italian boat Guidi is now third with Croatian Ivica Kostelic on Craotia Full of Life moving into fifth. With only 100 miles separating the top 20 the next week of racing promises to be exciting.
IMOCA – gybes talking
11th Hour Racing Team Malama (USA) will shortly round the waypoint at Fernando De Noronha, side by side with Corum L'Epargne the pair are the link between the boats that can still win and those whose chance seems gone. Meanwhile the three leaders are gybing their way up the north east coast of South America led by LinkedOut, Apivia and Charal – 100 miles separates first from third.
Ultimes – drag race to the finish
The Ultimes continue to be full steam ahead which is just as well because the weather is hot and steamy now they're off French Guiana, "It's mainly the heat that is bothering us but as we're going quite fast, it's pretty windy" says Tom Laperche from SVR-Lazartigue. Alongside partner François Gabart, Laperche is working hard to close the gap on leaders Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and second placed Banque Populaire XI. They are also having to keep a close eye on the Ocean Fifty, "We're looking forward to getting there, there's a chance the Ocean Fifty will get there before us but we're working hard and we'll try to get there on Tuesday night. The boat is really top notch, 820 miles in less than 24 hours, she has great potential! In the coming months SVR - Lazartigue will be even faster"
Ocean Fifty – anything could happen
Now into lighter winds and flatter seas – 10 to 12 knots – the change of regime after days and nights in the muscular tradewinds is a welcome one for the Ocean Fifty fleet. Sam Goodchild and Aymeric Chappellier on Leyton sit third with just 700 miles to the finish line in Martinique. The Anglo-French pair caught up more than ten miles on the leaders Primonial and there might be more compression as the fleet slows through the Doldrums again. With just 55 miles separating them from the leader, Goodchild and Chappellier poised to take any opportunity that comes their way.