There is not one, but two packs after a fortnight of racing. Slightly north of the latitude of Rio de Janeiro, there are four boats between 970 and over 1400 miles from the leader. This group formed by Jean Le Cam, Jean-Pierre Dick, Thomas Ruyant and Kito de Pavant has clearly been held up at the traffic lights. They are now sailing upwind and forced to manoeuvre to find a good angle to continue to advance at between 8 and 14 knots. They do not have any other choice but to wait until they catch the next low to cross to the east of the South Atlantic. Kito de Pavant (Bastide-Otio) joked about it this morning: The sky went dark yesterday evening. Suddenly the trade winds, which were getting increasingly light, gave way to a southerly wind and rain, and we found ourselves heading into nasty choppy seas. We had to stow the downwind sails and switch to headwind sails, fill the ballast tanks, put down the daggerboard, cant the keel to try to deal with these southerly head winds. We're heeled over, slamming… all that to get to an area of calms several hundred miles in front of us. We have no choice but to cross it...There's no escape. But it least it isn't so hot. I even wore a t-shirt during the night." At the Horn of Brazil, the second half of the pack is dealing with a stationary front while waiting for the fast train south, and for them, there is no point watching the rocket ships at the front. But they are battling it out amongst themselves sailing upwind from 13th placed Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée), 1640 miles back from the leader and 19th placed Nandor Fa (Spirit of Hungary), 150 miles further north. We can also see the following skippers in this group : Arnaud Boissières, Stéphane Le Diraison, Conrad Colman, Fabrice Amedeo and the Japanese sailor Kojiro Shiraishi.
Contests and dreams at the rear