A relieved Ellen Macarthur has found finally some wind after a frustrating few days in the Doldrums and she is making the most of it, though has fallen back into second place behind Michel Desjoyeux in PRB.

She was lying 46 miles behind the race leader but with the winds remaining variable, the race to the finish in Les Sables d'Olonnes is set to be a nerve-wracking one for the leaders and race followers.

"Mich (PRB) has crept away a little on me in the past 24 hours but I expected that as the wind switched further to the east, and he probably touched that first by quite a few hours. That meant he's been able to head more to the north where we want to go rather than to the north-west which is where we were heading before," she said.

"It will be interesting to see Bilou's (SILL) progress, he is very close in latitude, having not stopped at all in the Doldrums, but he is a long way west, and ultimately we need to get to east of north.

"He crossed the Doldrums in the same place I did on my solo delivery back from Cape Horn a year ago when we first sailed back to Europe with the boat - I didn't stop then either. Which made our 36 hours parked in the calms even more frustrating for me.

"Its great to be making progress to the north, it really is," said MacArthur, having recovered some of the enthusiasm lost earlier due to a lack of sleep.

Mike Golding also fell back to eighth position but was undeterred. "I'm currently trying to get through the trough between two high pressure systems," he explained.

"The result is an overcast sky, a very shifty breeze and huge seas.

"It's actually a very unusual sea - almost vertical waves, rather than having any particular direction,some seem to come from ahead, some from behind.

"Winds are shifting about 30 degrees on a cycle of about two or three minutes which makes life very tricky and means constant attention to keep the boat moving.

"Rather unusually instead of going upwind at this point we're actually reaching, so I spent last night going downwind with genniker. Josh has caught me again today.

"I think that part of it is the anomaly with the Vende Globe calculating system but also that Josh and I have been experiencing similar weather - but perhaps 12 hours apart.

"So that means that on some occasions Josh comes racing through then on other occasions so do I," he said.