Progress has been steady overnight as all the teams have found reasonable wind after several days of very light airs for many of the yachts.
Garmin and Qingdao, which both chose to pass between Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura, following LMAX Exchange, are now both making good speed in fourth and fifth position.
Mission Performance left Fuerteventura to its port, taking the route closest to the West African coast in the tactical Canary Islands dilemma.
LMAX Exchange has extended its lead, with 3365 nautical miles to go until the finish. Derry~Londonderry~Doire, in second, is now 157.3 nautical miles behind it on Distance to Finish, having headed further west along with third-placed GREAT Britain earlier in the race.
Simon Rowell, the Clipper Race Meteorologist, said as the fleet gets further south, the conditions will become more tropical, with significantly more squall activity around, some of it electrical.
“These will bring rapidly changing local conditions, but are very visible in daylight and show up well on the radar at night.”
Jim Prendergast, Skipper of Unicef, in eleventh position, said his team was avidly watching the unfolding of events in the fight to reach Rio.
“We’ve gone east of the Canary Islands looking for stronger winds. It has cost us quite a bit of time to do this as we were at one point working towards Madeira. Hopefully the additional boat speed will allow us to now win back some miles. It’s a strategy with some risks, but the guys seem to like going fast so were in.”
Mission Performance is currently in eighth. Skipper Greg Miller said: “We are flying down the strait between Africa and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. One more gybe in about 20 nautical miles between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura and we will be heading south west, directly towards Rio, at last!
“Once clear of the Canary Islands, we will see how we lie with the fleet. We haven’t looked too good the last 48 hours due to the west we had in our course and position, but now we are trucking down the highway with the Trade Winds and Canary current under us we will see just where we lie!”