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Day 17

South of the Canaries, the wind has returned from the South-East, allowing Simon Curwen to gain an extra ten miles on his pursuers Tapio, Pat and Abhilash. All those south of the Canaries – including the mid-fleet group – are now sailing in a NNE flow of 15-20 knots and are back above 100 nm daily.

Kirsten Neuschäfer has retained the lead of the mid-fleet group after a daring excursion to the West and is sailing at over 7 knots, clocking the highest 24h distance of the fleet, signalling that she probably is helming again. Meanwhile Guy Waites, who had followed her to the gate of Lanzarote, is taking a southerly route along the Mauritanian coast. The others are battling it out within VHF range and enjoying each other’s company during this complicated week.

Behind them is a slower start for Elliott Smith and Ian Herbert-Jones who got some wind later this morning, and the three sailors glued up-North, Damien, Mark and Arnaud who will only get fresh wind later later this evening with 130 nm for Damien and 290 nm for Arnaud to the Lanzarote gate.

The GGR Race Control is in touch with the sailors affected by the low-pressure system forming over Mauritania, informing them of its location, strength and direction on a daily basis, and have been discussing possible options with the frontrunners by satellite phone.

In front, Simon is well placed to get through from the West with manageable downwind conditions, which is less likely for his direct rivals who are 140 to 180 nm behind, with the last 5 boats further North not affected by the phenomenon.


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