With SMA now abandoned from fourth place the breakaway group forming the vanguard of the IMOCA fleet is lead by Banque Populaire VIII which is just over 20 miles ahead of PRB, Vincent Riou and Seb Col with Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir, Yann Elies and Charlie Dalin at 36 miles behind. Then there is a 280 miles gap back to Ruyant and Hardy. Bellion and Goodchild are ninth with 11 of the 20 starters still actively racing in the direction of Brasil.
In Class 40 the leaders are lengthening their stride too, Le Conservateur now 56 miles ahead of V and B but the top four boats are still within 100 miles of each other.
But, perhaps contrary to some expectations, the closest match on the race course is the duel between the two leaders, Sodebo Ultim' and Macif. Since 0430hrs this morning they have been pacing each other at near identical speeds 27-28kts, making around 530 mile days. Francois Gabart and Pascal Bidegorry still have the upper hand, five miles up on Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nelias.
The attrition rate continues:
* Hugo Boss crew helicoptered to safety
Alex Thomson and Guillermo Altadill, skippers of yacht HUGO BOSS in the Transat Jacques Vabre set off their emergency beacon this afternoon at 13.25UT. The Spanish Coastguard was informed and sent a rescue helicopter to their location 82 nautical miles from the Spanish coast.
Update: Alex Thomson and his team are back onboard HUGO BOSS which is now in a stable situation. Alex's IMOCA 60 is undergoing the necessary checks in order to tow her back to La Coruna, Spain.
* Technical problem on board the Ultim Actual
At 0400hrs UTC Friday morning, Yves le Blevec, skipper of the Ultim Actual and his co-skipper Jean-Baptiste Vaillant, informed the Race Management of the Transat Jacques Vabre that they have technical problems. Actual was sailing in manageable conditions, reaching in 20-25 knots at the latitude of Gibraltar.
Actual now route towards the European mainland making a speed of 7 knots in a W -SW'ly wind. Both co-skippers are well.
* Technical problem aboard Adopteunskipper.net
Nicolas Boidevezi , skipper of the IMOCA 60 Adopteunskipper.net competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre 2015, has told his shore team they have a technical problem with the bottom of the starboard running backstay . The safety of the two skippers is not compromised right now . Nicolas and co-skipper Ryan Breymaier (USA) head towards a haven. The problem occurred as the boat was in 12th position after four days and a half of racing.
* Technical stop in Madeira for JP Dick and Fabien Delahaye.
Jean-Pierre Dick and Fabien Delahaye contacted their team to report two structural ribs have broken in the front of the boat by the middle of the sail locker. The duo aboard St-Michel Virbac are now routing towards Madeira.
* Creno - Moustache Solidaire en route to Spain
Following the breakage of a starboard spreader, Thibault Hector and Morgan Launay have secured their rig and decided to sail to Spain to make a repair. In a sustained wind of 30-35 knots SW'ly and high sea, a stainless fitting broke but the crew was able to quickly change tack to save the rig. But as the wind is veering NW Creno Moustache-Solidaire will be able to make a course towards La Coruna and Vigo in the next hours. The duo expects to quickly repair to return to the course.
* Eric Holden and Morgen Watson, O Canada, are heading to Vigo, Spain
Since yesterday Eric Holden and Morgen Watson have been struggling with a damaged mast track on O Canada. They are heading to Vigo, Spain where they hope to fix the problem.
* Spirit of Hungary (IMOCA 60) dismasted
This afternoon a little after 1700hrs UTC the IMOCA 60 Spirit of Hungary was dismasted while they were 65 Nm north of the island Madeira. They were in 15 knots of northwest wind. Nandor Fa and Peter Perenyi are well and warned the Race Direction they are on their way under engine to Madeira.
* Arthur Hubert and Valentin Lemarchand on the Class40 SNBSM Espoir Competition expect to make a pit stop in Madeira. They duo are now missing a part of the mainsail mast track which was ripped off. And so that prevents them from being able to hoist their mainsail above the second reef. They will have to take a minimum break of 12 hours in Madeira, according to Class40 class rules before they can resume racing after making repairs.