Extended periods of extremely light weather meant that the Saint-Malo to Lisbon leg had to be split into two parts.

As predicted early on by her contemporaries, the Spanish MAPFRE is the boat to beat offshore and overall.

It was a French shoe-in across the board, even the winning Chinese VOR crew was sprinkled with French sailors.

Two-thirds of the IRC fleet remains at sea with the IRC Four podium set to be determined overnight.

The move sets up what should be a compelling rivalry with Burling’s long-term sailing partner Blair Tuke, who is competing with Spanish team MAPFRE.

There are 26 Class40s in the Fastnet, designed to a box rule created in France in the early 2000s.

Two-time America’s Cup challenger, Vincenzo Onorato, is among the seven early international contenders.

Aside from the full upwind slog from the start, there had been a few occasions when the race hadn't gone their way.

With Concise 10 already home, Rambler 88 leads the monohull fleet and Dongfeng is at the head of the closely-bunched Volvo Open 65s.

There has been one significant retirement among the Class40s when Phor-ty, the competitive Mach 40 of Britain's Peter Harding, dismasted yesterday afternoon four miles from Portland Bill.

In brilliant sunshine and with brisk westerly winds gusting up to 20 knots, the giant fleet tacked up the western Solent before compressing through the usual bottleneck at Hurst Narrows.

Paddy Broughton’s newly purchased Kialoa II and Ludde Ingvall’s CQS will keep Australia’s hopes alive.

CQS has picked up the Queen's Cup in Cowes, but now faces stiff opposition in the Fastnet Race.

Australian David Witt, skipper of Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, has chosen to go with an all-male crew.

Charles Caudrelier says the field is quite open, but expects MAPFRE, winner of the Round the Island Race, to be tough.