The leaders are now into fast broad reaching conditions and consequently the speeds are up. Several IMOCAs are already making 24 hour averages of over 500 miles and it seems the 2017 record of Alex Thomson might be under threat.
After getting around the top of the anticyclone the speedos crept progressively upwards yesterday evening and night. 0n the 0700hrs UTC ranking this morning the race leader, now Yoann Richomme (Paprec-Arkéa) had made 509 nautical miles in 24 hours. Both Sam Sam Goodchild (For The Planet, 2nd) and Boris Herrmann (Malizia – Seaexplorer, 7th) both made 493 miles.

"They are just a little slower than the record (established at 536.81 miles in 2017 by Alex Thomson) but it is not impossible to see that fall today.” Suggested Christian Dumard, the race meteorologist. “They are still sailing in a relatively cautious mode."

There is another advantage of the settled fast conditions. “The fleet is generally very tired from the start of the race and the first 48 hours were particularly intense," notes Hubert Lemonnier, the race director. “Now they should be able to rest a little more.”

The current gybe should lead the fleet towards the Azores.

“Contrary to what some theoretical routings might show no one is likely to go much further north even if there is more wind up there. We do see the skippers sailing in a relatively cautious mode.” Dumard contends.

The next big depression is due to hit the mid fleet boats on the 7th and 8th and will largely affect the middle of the fleet and the skippers behind them. The biggest problem with this system will be the sea state which will be big and confused following the passage of the previous system.  Consequently, again, the solo racers are most likely to route prudently and stay south.

“It would be dangerous to go too far north and be too close to the centre of the depression.” explains Christian Dumard.