Painful hurdle ahead in Vendée Globe

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Thirty six hours of pain face the leaders in the Vendée Globe singlehanded non-stop round the world race, but 3,000 miles of jangling nerves are in prospect for two of the eight boats on the second leg of the Volvo race from Cape Town to Kochi, south-west India.

The Doldrums are the painful hurdle for the soloists. The two leaders, Loick Peyron in Gitana Eighty and Seb Josse, the Frenchman charged with skippering Ellen MacArthur's BT, both hope they have lined themselves up in the Atlantic to take the minimum setback from an area of the world notorious for mixing glassy seas and no wind with vicious squalls, thunder and lightning.

In the Indian Ocean, Kenny Read skipper of the American entry Puma, reported a second dose of structural damage after again crashing off a wave in seas whipped up by 40-knot winds.

Behind him, Ian Walker at the helm of the Irish entry Green Dragon was still coping with the loss of the mainsail boom, split in two and awaiting repairs below, a jury-rigged steering system, three knockdowns and a growing number of leaks. Walker was on the most southerly route and had slipped to seventh.

Many of the boats are reporting sickness and injuries as they make for the scoring gate which is Longitude 58 degrees east and then turn north for Kochi. Puma was hanging on to the lead, but the threat of the two Ericsson boats, 3 and 4, was all too apparent.

Still top Briton in the Vendée, Mike Golding had a fruitful 24 hours and moved up to seventh in Ecover. In 12th place, Sam Davies had moved Roxy one place ahead of Brian Thompson in Bahrain Team Pindar while Dee Caffari maintained 16th place in Aviva, ahead of Steve White in Spirit of Weymouth and Jonny Malbon, on a far more easterly trajectory, 19th on Artemis.

Stuart Alexander talks to Seb Josse Online