Neutrogena, Guillermo Altadill and José Muñoz, are the new leaders of the Barcelona World Race this morning with a narrow margin over Cheminées Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam, as they clear the Cape Verde Islands.

Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes on Hugo Boss are profiting from their investment to the west, now sailing four or five knots quicker then the trio of IMOCA 60s to their east, while last night’s leaders GAES Centros Auditivos are sailing on a hitch back to the west, dropping them to third.

As the leaders survey the evolution of the Doldrums which they will start to encroach Saturday afternoon, the top four boats will feel the brisk trade winds slacken progressively, from their 25kts and more, back to 15-20kts, easing as they make south.

As the trade wind activity eases off, the Doldrums – which have been forced south by the strong trade winds – will expand north again. Even so, the passage through for the leaders, does not seem too onerous.

It has been a good, fast night for the leaders. Speeds have stayed consistently high. Sixty five miles to the west of Neutrogena, their stable-mates Hugo Boss are making 21kts average speed, the highest yet of this race. But on the water it remains very close between GAES Centros Auditivos,Anna Corbella and Gérard Marin, Cheminées Poujoulat and Neutrogena. Very early this morning GAES and Neutrogena crossed only 200 metres from each other as Corbella and Marin went west.

The leaders should start to feel the Doldrums at between 6 and 5 deg N when the wind clocks to the ENE and then E. They will as much be looking at the position of the Saint Helena high pressure which right now is quite west.

Renault Captur have been slowed slightly, their moods won’t be lifted by a protest decision which gives them a 20 minutes time penalty for a rules infringement in the Tarifa traffic separation. They reported that they had a rudder issue at the time and strayed into the TSS channel which they should have altered course and crossed at 90 degrees. The time penalty probably reflects the time they would have gained by not doing this.

Meantime We Are Water are catching One Planet One Ocean Pharmaton but only slowly, 85 miles of difference today.

And Spirit of Hungary have suffered a heavy blow to moral, losing their big spinnaker. It tumbled from the masthead and was shredded in the water and is beyond any kind of repair. They are passing through the Canary Islands making a steady 13kts.