YVES Le Blevec’s Grand Prix racing multihull, Actual Leader, is doing exactly what it says on the tin as the leading vessels pass the half-way point of the 88th Round the Island Race.

Le Brevec, vying for the top prize, the Gold Roman Bowl, is currently revelling in the light conditions at the
head of the 1,210-strong Round the Island Race fleet as it passes Ventnor.

In light to moderate winds, Le Brevec has managed to shake off his closest rivals — Jethou, Lady Mariposa and Mini Y.

Having passed The Needles, Le Blevec — former winner of the Mini Transat — and his pro team sailed a smart, tactical race, taking a long port tack offshore to pull well clear of Jethou and the rest of the fleet.

Matt Sheahan, commenting earlier from Actual Leader as it headed upwind on the east side of the Island, towards Ventnor, said the conditions were currently "up and down".

“We’d been cross gybing with Jethou all the way down The Solent, with just 300m between us, but we slipped in a port tack and continued on that tack well offshore," Sheahan explained. 

"This was a great move, because we were recording up to 22-23 knots' boat speed in 18 knots of breeze and really pulled ahead of Jethou.

"Unfortunately, it has all slowed up a bit now because, having tacked inshore, the wind is down to eight knots — and we’re against the tide.”

Elsewhere on the course, the fleet is enjoying a glorious sunny day on the water, with the usual bunching and concertina'ing effect of the fleet as it approached The Needles, which looked spectacular as the mass of spinnakers dominated the skyline.

However, the wind has dropped significantly, which means there is a good chance some might not make it through the tidal gate before it closes at around 2pm.