THE Doldrums allowed Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher) to dissolve the miles behind Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB) and be queen for a day at the head of the Vende Globe fleet after 82 days at sea.

However, The Professor soon snatched the reigns back fromhis young rival, thanks to his more favourable position in the north-west.

He touched the sought-after north-easterly winds several hours before MacArthur and so got going again earlier than the Cowes-based skipper.

Desjoyeaux said that he never had a doubt about this turn of events.

He has managed to accelerate gradually and create a 48 mile lead over MacArthur, both now heading north-west

The Frenchman said: "The way out was to be in the north and west of this phenomenon and that's why I got out first!

"I'm sure the Doldrums are behind me now. I've been sailing at more than nine knots for a whole day."

MacArthur has been able to get going again and is benefiting from the same winds and so the same speeds as Desjoyeaux.

She has no radical option for a few days now but to keep the pressure on just to the east. There is no doubt that Desjoyeaux will mark her continuously, though.

Mike Golding from Southampton, sailing Team Group 4, lies in eighth place, 2,270 miles behind the leaders. The leaders are expected to finish next month.