BT breaks away - Sébastien Josse takes 30 nm lead

Artemis Transat - BT Seb Josse - photo B Stichelbaut/Sea&Co
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Sébastien Josse was convinced he had made the good choice in the South, and the first position update indicates he was right - taking over the lead from Loick Peyron's Gitana Eighty just 30 minutes after the last position update.

This morning the gaps in terms of distance to the finish have never been so important - the leading pack crossed the ridge last night, and Sébastien Josse on BT was the only one to still make good progress with 10 knots of speed when his rivals were stuck at 3 or 4.

Yesterday evening, Seb managed to pull away from PRB and Brit Air (Riou and Seb were at some point in sight of each other), and revealed it has been a tiring battle in fluky airs against the Vendée Globe winner.

BT seems to be very efficient in light airs, and Seb certainly knows how to make the most of every weak puff - some might remember his astonishing Figaro leg victory in 2001, when he literally drifted across the line to the amazement of Beyou and Elies, who had been anchored for hours in opposing current and no wind (but that's another story really).

The five other leaders are still tightly packed in terms of distance to the finish, and the back of the fleet has slowed down too, losing yet more miles.

In the Class 40 fleet, overnight, Boris Herrmann on Beluga Racer overtook Yvan Noblet's Appart' City to clinch second place. The German skipper trails Telecom Italia by 17 miles and Noblet has dropped back to 31 miles behind the race leader and holds third place

Noblet on Appart' City leads fourth place Thierry Bouchard and Mistral Loisirs - Pole Sante ELIOR by less than 1 mile. The two yachts are racing side-by-side, separated by just 4 miles of water north-south, with Noblet the northernmost of the two.

IMOCA 60 - Leading Positions - DTF - DTL - at 06:00, 15 May 2008

1 BT 1922.4 0.0
2 Gitana Eighty 1954.4 32.0
3 PRB 1960.4 38.0
4 Generali 1964.5 42.1
5 Foncia 1966.7 44.3
6 Brit Air 1976.7 54.3
7 Roxy 2049.3 126.9
8 Safran 2095.2 172.8
9 Cervin EnR 2108.1 185.7
10 Akena Vérandas 2123.4 201.0
11 Aviva 2154.6 232.2
12 Pakea Bizkaia 2009 2189.9 267.5

Class 40 - Leading Positions - DTF - DTL - at 06:00, 15 May 2008

1 Telecom Italia 2205.6 0
2 Beluga Racer 2222.2 16.6
3 Appart City 2236.6 31
4 Mistral Loisirs - Pole Santé ELIOR 2237.5 31.9
5 40 Degrees 2239.2 33.5
6 Custo Pol 2245.9 40.3
7 Fujifilm 2251.5 45.8
8 Groupe Royer 2252.1 46.4
9 Groupe Partouche 2258.1 52.5
10 Clarke Offshore Racing 2277.3 71.7
11 Prévoir Vie 2299.4 93.7
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