Four feeder races and a change of date for the start of the 654 nautical mile race around the island of New Caledonia mark an exciting new chapter for the beautiful French Pacific Island sailing event.

After negotiating their escape from the complex and grueling Breton coast between strong currents, rocks and zones with no wind, the 43 skippers began the crossing of the Channel, heading to Wolf Rock

After only 80 miles completed at the speed of a snail (3.5 knots average!) driven by an erratic wind, the rescue of sailors exhausted from fatigue and cooked by the sun of the last 24hrs seems to come with wind from the northeast.

The start was delayed for over an hour owing to light breeze and a general recall.

Close to 250 yachts were at the mercy of testing fickle conditions throughout the offshore course.

Momo prevailed after an epic tussle throughout the 241-nm race with fellow Maxi 72 Caol Ila R, who crossed the finish line a mere eight minutes later. Jethou, the third Maxi 72, abandoned the race earlier this morning.

The 150 mile ‘sprint stage’ will take the 43 skippers on a Concarneau to Concarneau route via “Sud banc de Guerande” and will take 24 hours of navigation to complete.

She was the smallest boat in the race and was sailed using only celestial navigation.

The race is open to fully crew and two-handed yachts, as well as keelboats and multihulls of not less than nine meters hull length, and there is a cruising fleet as well.

Their destination is the historic port city of Genoa, Italy with 241-nautical miles of tactically challenging sailing in constantly shifting weather patterns lying ahead.

Around 400 boats will be on the Cowes start line on Sunday 6th August - the largest ever entry in the 92 year history of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial 'classic 600 miler'.

Hardy crossed the line just 54 seconds in front of Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) and there was an incredible come back for leg 1 winner Nicolas Lunven (Generali), finishing a further 49 seconds back.

By reducing the cycle, it won’t be necessary to go to all commercially important markets in every edition, meaning organisers will be able to choose routes that provide the right balance between sporting integrity and commercial value.

The fleet was still clustered together along the Rhumb line to Bermuda from Marion with a majority of the fleet expected to finish Wednesday evening and a few expected on Thursday morning.

The retirees now total seven, so the fleet is down to 42 boats.