March 5, 2024

Fast and furious finish on the cards

Cold, fast and pointing towards the finish.

It’s fast sailing for the fleet, as the miles fall away…

Written by Peter Rusch

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet is experiencing cold, fast sailing at the moment, with 500+ mile days putting a serious dent into the distance to finish number.

On the 0700 position report, Team Brunel emerged from Stealth Mode. When she disappeared from view, she was 30 miles behind MAPFRE and that’s still the case.

Leg 02, Lisbon to Cape Town, day 16, on board Vestas 11th Hour. Photo by Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race. 20 November 2017. Jena Mai Hansen trimming the main sheet.

However, one day ago, that was good for second place. Now, Brunel is fourth in the rankings, with Dongfeng and Vestas 11th Hour Racing having overhauled them.

And interestingly, having gone into Stealth Mode as the most southerly boat, Brunel have emerged slightly north of the leading trio, having crossed tracks beginning around 1800 (UTC) last night. You can see it all in the tracker.

It’s still very close… less than four miles separate Brunel from second-placed Vestas 11th Hour Racing.

That means for most of their stealth mode they were probably in sight of each other, if not visually then on AIS (a compulsory ship’s safety tracking system installed on all sea-going vessels).

Vestas 11th Hour Racing navigator Simon Fisher confirmed as much, writing: “Our rivals Brunel have been in and out of view for the last few days and have been a good reference for our performance.

“The elastic has stretched and contracted but somehow, we have ended up back alongside each other each time. Perhaps the decision to go into stealth mode by Brunel was an attempt to finally get away from us.

“I am not sure however it has worked for them as I can see their lights behind us and their green triangle on my computer screen once again (AIS). It looks like we might have to play this game of cat and mouse all the way to Cape Town!”

What is clear is that the leading group is still in a hard-fought battle for each point, now with under 1500 nautical miles to go to the finish.

And it’s no less intense at the back. Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic are still matching each other move for move, some 100-miles behind the leader.

DTLnm SPEEDkt
1 MAPF 0.00 21.3
2 VS11 26.48 21.9
3 DFRT 27.22 20.3
4 TBRU 30.34 20.0
5 AKZO 61.76 22.9
6 SHKS 95.70 20.3
7 TTOP 100.62 19.0

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