The leaders in the Golden Globe Race have now left the Doldrums and are extending their leads in the South East Trades

As the majority of the Golden Globe Race fleet continue to struggle in the Doldrums, the leaders are busy enjoying the refreshing conditions of the South East Trades.

Philippe Péché continues to be out in front in his Rustler 36, PRB, and was the first to tack to port and head south west. But, the French skipper can’t afford to rest on his laurels.

He is being hotly pursued by fellow French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, who, as of yesterday, was 37 miles behind Péché. Dutchman Mark Slats is currently third.

French sailor Jean Luc Van Den Heede leans on a blue sail

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is keeping up the pressure on leader, Philippe Péché. CREDIT: Christophe Favreau/Matmut/PPL

The trio, who are already a week ahead of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s average daily distance 50 years ago and on par with Moitessier’s time in his larger 40ft Joshua, now have to decide how close they can sail into the South East Trades without running into the South Atlantic High pressures system.

It is not only Péché who is feeling the pressure.

Britain’s Susie Goodall in her Rustler 36, DHL Starlight, is facing stiff competition from Ireland’s Gregor McGuckin, with just five miles separating the pair last night.

Goodall, who is the youngest competitor in the race, also has to watch out for Finn Uku Randmaa who is gaining on her fast. Her frustration in the Doldrums is evident in her daily message to the Golden Globe Race HQ: ‘Can’t escape this heat. Need some breeze!’

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This sentiment is shared by Estonian Uku Randmas, who’s  Rustler 36 One and All is now in 7th position. ‘Yesterday I parked my car. Today, start from same place,’ he texted.

Indian Navy officer, Abhilash Tomy in his Suhaili replica, Thuriya is also struggling with the lack of wind which has left him in 10th place.

Susie Goodall passing through the first GGR gate head of entering the Doldrums

Susie Goodall is currently in 5th place. Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

He has passed the Cape Verde Islands, but looks to be using some of his 40 gallons fuel supply as he searches for new wind.

Following self-steering gear problems, which have hampered many of the Golden Globe Race fleet, French professional skipper Antoine Cousot has now left the Canary Islands and is heading south.

He has been joined in the Chichester Class, which is for entrants who are forced to stop once and seek outside assistance, by American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar, who has pulled in to Sao Vincente, Cape Verde to replace his self steering gear on his Tradewind 35 Puffin.

Italian Francesco Cappelletti, who missed the start from Les Sables d’Olonne back on 1 July, has finally set out to chase after the leaders only to find himself caught in a huge area of calm extending right across the Bay of Biscay.

He is sailing his Endurance 35 007 in the Carozzo Class, for those keen to continue the adventure after dropping out of the main event.

Positions et 06:00 23. 07. 2018

1. Philippe Péché (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB
2. Jean- Luc VDH (FRA)Rustler 36 Matmut
3. Mark Slats (NED)Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick
4. Are Wiig (NOR) OE 32 Olleanna
5. Susie Goodall (GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight
6. Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance
7. Uku Randmaa (EST) Rustler 36 One and All
8. Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) Gaia 36 Asteria
9. Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35 Esmeralda
10. Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya
11. Mark Sinclair (Aus) Lello 34 Coconut
12. Loïc Lepage (FRA) Nicholson 32 Laaland

1. Istvan Kopar (USA) Tradewind 35 Puffin
2. Antoine Cousot (FRA) Biscay 36 Métier Intérim

1. Francesco Cappelletti (ITA) Endurance 35 007

1. Ertan Beskardes (GBR) Rustler 36 Lazy Otter
2. Kevin Farebrother (AUS) Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha
3. Nabil Amra (PAL) Biscay 36 Liberty II