The majority of the BT fleet is still trapped in a band of light winds, constantly watching for a shift or a breeze on which to hitch a ride, it is a frustrating time for all of the crews
After gaining for most of yesterday Logica and Compaq have lost miles this morning. Whether this is because they have run out of wind by being too close to the coast in an area known for light winds, or because they are in a band of light wind in the transition from the north-westerlies and the start of the trade winds, is not clear.
The biggest gain over the last 24 hours was made by Quadstone who closed up by 22 miles, most of that in the last 6 hours. More significantly LG FLATRON gained 20 miles and has closed to 74 miles behind the leaders. After languishing 205 miles behind a week ago it appears that they are staging a comeback to defend their 1st place overall and are looking for another podium finish.
The position of Norwich Union is estimated due to their continuing problem with charging electricity and their having to conserve power. They are close to Isle of Man, although who is in the lead is not certain.
There were no changes in relative positions which is surprising as there are some close battles going on within the fleet. The group of 5 yachts at the back all gained with the exception of Save the Children. They took a more easterly track when the wind dropped two days ago and are now east of their main rivals. Having lost a few miles yesterday they are in danger of not being able to clear Dakar without having to tack, or risk getting very close to the coast.
With the trade winds close to the northwest the yachts are caught with light winds between the two wind regimes. This is probably the last chance for a while for big gains and losses to be made. Once into the trade winds the element of luck, or skill, depending on whether you lose or gain by the fluky winds, will be replaced by the hard work of beating against a strong wind.