Unicef, in tenth place, and Mission Performance in ninth, have been involved in a high drama battle yesterday and through the night.

At midday, Mission Performance became visible to Unicef, and the team attempted to chase it down, carrying out five sail changes.

The yachts are now just three miles apart as of 0900 UTC.

Unicef Skipper Jim Prendergast describes the last 24 hours: “We spent the day chasing Skipper Greg and Mission Performance from midday when they popped out between two of the Cape Verde isles, moving west to east to our north to south. It was the first Clipper Race yacht we had seen in a week. Skipper Greg's familiar friendly voice boomed out from the deck speakers on VHF and the guys cheered.

“We chased them all afternoon and night, the varying wind conditions from the north east to light, to south, to east meant five sail changes in as many hours. The guys were happy to have a visible target and this was done with great enthusiasm. A particular highlight was the re-emergence of the lightweight spinnaker. Mission Performance is two miles ahead on our starboard beam, and we are moving south as fast as we can, dodging squalls.”

Mission Performance Skipper Greg Miller said his team had re-hoisted its lightweight spinnaker after a squall passed and the wind resumed from its previous direction as it battled to stay ahead of Unicef.

He said: “We are still sailing on her now making our way towards the Doldrums Corridor which lies some 160 nautical miles to our south. The winds tonight are due to be light so we need to work hard with sail trim and make sure we get ‘Missy’ (the nickname for our yacht Mission Performance) in the right place for the start of the corridor.

“Today we have been fighting to stay ahead of Unicef past the islands and we will continue to fight all the way down until we start the engine in the Doldrums Corridor,” Greg added.

In the front half of the fleet, Garmin has started to motor-sail in the Doldrums Corridor, while Derry~Londonderry~Doire, Qingdao and GREAT Britain are also still in their motor-sailing phase.

Race leader LMAX Exchange is beating upwind, making 9.3 knots with 2070 nautical miles to go until Rio.

All positions correct as of 0900 UTC.

For the latest positions, see the Race Viewer here.

For more on the Doldrums Corridor rules, click here.

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