The last 24 hours have seen the fleet concertina as the leading yachts ran out of wind allowing the yachts behind to catch up

The last 24 hours has seen the fleet concertina as the lead yachts ran out of wind allowing the yachts behind to catch up. Although moving again now the first to last place distance is down to 231nm.

The pack of five at the back gained between 71nm (Olympic Group) and 98nm (Quadstone). Although there were no place changes in this group, Save the Children and Quadstone are only seven miles apart and Spirit of Hong Kong and Veritas are running parallel with each other 10nm apart but with equal distances to go to the finish.

At the front Logica are holding onto their lead but it has reduced to nine miles over Compaq. However the big mover in the lead group once again was LG Flatron. They moved up two places into third just 23nm behind Logica.

LG Flatron, Isle of Man, and Norwich Union are sailing within sight of each other on port tack heading into the coast whilst the leaders have headed further offshore. These three must soon follow as the wind has swung to the north and if they continue on the same heading they will soon arrive at the coast.

Another close battle is unfolding between TeamSpirIT and BP; with an equal distance to go they are just within sight of each other six miles apart on the water. It shows how closely matched the yachts are that after 25 days of racing not only are a number of yachts sailing within sight of each other, but after following quite different courses such little mileage divides the fleet.

With all the yachts having someone close to them there can be no let up in the racing as any relaxation will be immediately noticeable in the next position report. If the yachts can get into the steady trade winds today it should take away the chance element of running out of wind near the coast; it will though be the start of a long hard beat against the trades.