All the teams have made the turn at the virtual mark called Porto Santo North and are heading for Lisbon…
They’re on the final stretch, but it’s still a good 24 hours before the finish line will be in sight.
All seven teams have made the turn at Porto Santo North, a virtual mark, or waypoint, added as a mark of the course that the boats were required to leave to starboard.
With the waypoint in their wake, the fleet is now free to plot their own course to the finishing line, as of 03:30 UTC, still some 340 nautical miles away.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing remains the class of the fleet holding a 33 mile lead over MAPFRE, in turn some 20 miles ahead of team AkzoNobel.
But then it gets interesting. Dongfeng Race Team has spent the entire leg trying to claw back miles and Charles Caudrelier’s team is now just 4 miles from a podium spot and charging hard.
“We try to play a little bit differently compared to AkzoNobel,” explains navigator Pascal Bidégorry. “The forecast for the next day is quite clear. More pressure, a header, and we’re going to cross a ridge. It’s very interesting and very stressful because I don’t think we’ll have a lot of wind close to Lisbon, and every time it’s a big mess.”
The forecast is for easing winds near the finishing line. With an extensive lead, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and MAPFRE should be safe. But after that, it’s an open question who will complete the podium and how the rest of the placings will be earned.
Even at the back of the fleet, the game is on.
“Having Brunel with us, we’re trying to stay ahead of them… It will be a drag race into Lisbon with the options reducing rapidly,” said Dee Caffari. “It’s all about boat speed and making the right sail choice.”
Source – Volvo Ocean Race