The leading trio has now pretty much passed the Azores and are making fair progress to escape a lighter zone. But everyone is monitoring a big depression which is forming off the coast of Newfoundland and which will see a big proportion of the fleet turn south to avoid the worst of it. Meantime Sébastien Simon (Groupe Dubreuil) who was unreachable last night is believed to be heading into the Azores after an electrical blackout. And the course promises to be long and hard for  for Jean Le Cam (Tout Commence en Finistère - Armor-lux) who started yesterday. 

The three leaders, Yoann Richomme (Paprec Arkéa, 1st), Jérémie Beyou (Charal, 2nd) and Sam Goodchild(For the Planet, 3rd) are through the Azores gate and moving east of the islands. They need to get through this ridge in light airs with big, unruly seas – Richomme could have over 4 metres of seaway…yukk! Yoann Richomme’s delta to second is still about 75 miles, ahead of Jérémie Beyou on the 1000hrs UTC ranking, that is about four hours ahead. 

The wind should ease in the coming hours, “says Christian Dumard, the race meteorologist. “The boats are stuck in a lightish area but the wind will quickly pick up. The light zone will drift to the south of the Azores.” 

Behind, a depression is deepening to the east of Newfoundland. This is forcing a large part of the fleet to set up for it. “We see that they are diving a little further south to stay south of the strongest wind,” explains Dumard.

Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée) is the one with the most committed routing, not unusually for him he is 100 miles further north than the rest of the fleet. In terms of ETA, if the winner could cross the finish line on Saturday afternoon, then between two days to four days later for the next two groups

Finally, nothing will be easy for Jean Le Cam (Tout Commence en Finistère - Armor-lux). “It won’t be that simple for him,” explains Christian Dumard. The anticyclone is moving quite north so he will be mainly close-hauled, and then there is a big tropical depression which is coming that could block his path. “