Past half way in the Transat

As the front of the IMOCA Open 60 fleet passed the half way mark today the gains of Groupe Bel stabilised. Whether Kito de Pavant and Francois Gabart's 'laughing cow' can still prove the smiling assassins who bring down Safran remains to be seen. The Groupe Bel twosome's gains have stabilised this afternoon at 26.3 miles as the pair line up more or less bow to stern on the straight line for the Dominican Republic milestone into the Caribbean. Guillemot predicted today that they will pass the mark of the course Thursday lunch time

Mike Golding and Javier Sanso on Mike Golding have received little by way of return for their hard work, trying to keep pace with the leading duo. Now just over 119 miles behind, Sanso felt sure today that they were in more even breezes and that they will fare better as the breeze went a little forward. He emphasised how difficult it is sailing against the two leaders, racing with no wind information beyond what they feel on their cheeks, see on the water and can see in their sails. But, their margin back to the double Vendee Globe leader Michel Desjoyeaux and Jeremie Beyou remains over 250 miles and Mike Golding Yacht Racing's speed is back up on par with the leaders this evening.

Desjoyeaux's Foncia in fourth is now 60 miles ahead of fifth placed Veolia Environnement.

Their northerly routing was pretty much forced on them, but as the high pressure enveloped them yesterday, 1876's Yves Parlier and Pachi Rivero remain philosophical and attacking as they push down a slightly radical, northerly routing with Veolia just 15 miles ahead. "We are enjoying it immensely" noted Parlier today, reporting that they has spent many hours on repairs since the big storm.

And Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson on Aviva are in a yacht race with the Spanish duo Pepe Ribes and Alex Pella on W-Hotels, less than a mile separating them in terms of DTF (distance to finish), whilst Caffari's old Vendee Globe chum Arnaud 'Cali' Boissieres on Akena Verandas must fancy his chances with Vincent Riou as they try to close down the 66 miles lead of the British pair.

Date Added - 17-Nov-2009

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