The flotilla of 28 yachts are now heading east along the south coast after departing the Solent this morning . The 1,800 mile race around Britain and Ireland set off from the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes with a stiff southwesterly wind and a good tide, allowing the yachts to fly their spinnakers.
At 1130 the fleet past Selsey Bill, with over 30 knots of breeze. Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, has averaged 30 knots of boat speed since the start and is on course to finish the race in two and a half days, smashing the course record, if these conditions prevail.
Five Volvo 65s are taking part in the event - the first time the teams have raced against each other ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race which starts in October. They screamed through the start line with Team SCA, skippered by Sam Davies, getting the best start. Team Dongfeng, skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier, was just in the lead at 1100am. Three teams have taken the lead in the Volvo 65 class in the first two hours, a pattern that may well continue right through the race.
More top news
Simon's Blog - In The Bleak Midwinter...
Friday night's forecast for the east of the region
Friday night's forecast for the west of the region