11th Hour sails under the Newport Bridge in Rhode Island at the start of the fifth leg of The Ocean Race to Aarhus, Denmark

Paris (AFP) - American boat 11th Hour grabbed a narrow lead in the Ocean Race after winning the fifth leg from Newport, Rhode Island, to Aarhus in Denmark.

“It’s a good feeling to be at the top of the table,” said skipper Charlie Enright after jumping to first by a single point in the elite open class for monohulls (Imoca). “It’s more important to be on top in July than it is now, but this is a step in the right direction.”

After eight days at sea and a journey of 3,438 miles (6,300km) across the Atlantic, the American team beat Holcim-PRB into port by four hours, even though the Swiss boat set a record for distanced travelled in 24 hours by a monohull on Friday. Team Malizia was third.

“The new Imocas are quite extreme - fast but not very comfortable,” said Kevin Escoffier, skipper of Swiss boat Holcim-PRB. “I can tell you that doing 640 miles in 24-hours is definitely not comfortable!”

The race continues with a ‘fly-by’ in Kiel on June 9, followed by legs to the Hague and from there to Genoa where it ends with an in-port race on July 1.

11th Hour’s second victory put it on 28 points. Holcim-PRB which had led after each of the first four legs has 27.

“It’s been extremely fast, it feels like I left Newport two days ago. It was really great to sail so intensely,” said Imoca world champion Charlie Dalin, who sailed on 11th Hour for the crossing.

French crew Biotherm was still rounding Scotland.

“The team is sailing slowly, protecting the mast, and won’t be in Aarhus until the end of the week,” said the race web site.

The fifth and last Imoca, Guyot-Environnement, did not start the leg after losing a mast during the fourth leg and is on a cargo ship bound for Europe.