As expected, the conditions in the Bay of Biscay are favouring the new foilers. The three leading skippers, Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), Jean-Pierre Dick (St Michel-Virbac) and Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) all have boats equipped with these appendages. Slightly south of those chasing them, these three are close together and have built up a lead of 14 miles over fourth placed Safran skippered by Morgan Lagravière. Speeds are varying on these VPLP-Verdier designed boats as is the wind strength, but occasionally they are reaching speeds worthy of multihulls of around 23 knots.
With these variable northerlies gusting from 12 to 30 knots, the skippers are having to work hard, as Kito de Pavant explained this morning. But the favourites are coping particularly well. The fleet has separated into three groups. All the foilers except No Way Back are in the leading group (Pieter Heerema said from the outset that he would determine his own pace). In addition to the trio out in front, we can see Morgan Lagravière's Safran, Jérémie Beyou's Maître CoQ and Sébastien Josse's Edmond de Rothschild in 4th, 6th and 7th place respectively.