Volvo Race - ABN AMRO ONE continues to move ahead

Overnight Brasil 1 has made great gains on the fleet but as the crews approach the equator, some have their minds on other things

Brasil 1 has come back into the game having spent the night creeping her way up through the fleet. At 16:00 GMT yesterday, she was in fifth place with only ABN AMRO TWO in her wake. By 22:00 GMT last night she had relegated Ericsson to fifth and at 0400 GMT this morning she was making very good progress, knocking the Pirates off their perch for third. Unfortunately the good luck ended there: Paul Cayard and his crew fought back to reclaim their spot in third place and they are now sailing considerably faster than the Brazilians.

At the head of the fleet, second-placed movistar has lost another seven miles to leader ABN AMRO ONE, who is now 19 nm ahead and consistently sailing a knot faster than the Spanish boat.

The fleet is currently south west of French Guiana, 800 nm off the coast. At present, the wind speed is still good, allowing the fleet to make reasonable progress towards the finish in Baltimore. So far, there has not been much sign of the typical Doldrums conditions the fleet is expected to encounter in this region.

This is however the region where those poor unfortunates who managed to hide their virgin status on the previous Equator crossing, or who have since joined the racing crews, now find themselves cowering in the limelight as the fleet crosses back into the northern hemisphere and the spectre – or is it sceptre? – of King Neptune once again rears his fiendish head.