Offshore

Winning the race may be dependent on having a fully-functioning boat, with intact foils.

The escalation in the spread of the new strain of COVID-19 in Europe, the state of lockdown in the UK and concern that a large number of sailors travelling to Antigua could transmit the virus to the Island were all taken into consideration.

The Vendée Globe in effect restarted off Rio de Janeiro today with the five top boats regrouping within 26 miles of each other in terms of the distance to the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne.

Peter Harburg's supermaxi Black Jack is the biggest of the 400 entries received.

The group of six chasing solo racers is now compressed to within 300 miles of leader Yannick Bestaven.

Having discovered a crack in the shaft of her rudder, Hare had no alternative but to stop her IMOCA 60, drop out the damaged rudder and ship the spare in 20 knots of wind and a big Pacific swell.

In late November, the six men had to interrupt their passage down the North Atlantic following damage to the giant’s port rudder and foil after colliding with a UFO (unidentified floating object).

The next 48 hours – and the passage of the cold front at Cabo Frio by Rio – and strategic choices to get to the Easterly trade winds is going to be pivotal.

The 45-year-old solo Vendée Globe skipper practised the replacement procedure at the dock before the Vendee Globe started but it will be made much more difficult in one of the most hostile and loneliest areas of the Southern Ocean.

Racing behind a South Pacific low pressure system in 35-45 knots of wind and big, crossed seas, Hare is focused on a pinprick of light at the end of the long tunnel to her first Cape Horn rounding.

There seems to be a chance that Bestaven might be able to wriggle out of a high pressure system and escape from his pursuers on a small depression which would sling shot him north.

All competing boats will undergo compliance checks and, in addition, all crew will be required to produce a negative test result for COVID-19 prior to departure.

Isabelle Joschke suffered the failure of the hydraulic ram which cants the the keel of her IMOCA MACSF. She was lying in eighth place when the ram failed and has now dropped to 11th.

Starting in Sydney, the Breakout Series includes several offshore races taking in Pittwater and Newcastle.

The initial Atlantic strategies seem to see Bestaven going east to get round the east of the anticyclone and Dalin trying to work west to get through the initial light phase earlier.

The weather pattern that the leaders have to deal with to reach the third of the major capes of the Vendée Globe course is looking complicated.