Since the opening leg from Alicante, Spain to Cabo Verde, skipper Kevin Escoffier and his rotating cast of characters on Team Holcim-PRB, have been firmly positioned at the top of the overall race leaderboard.
Now, with just over 250 miles left to the finish line in Aarhus, Denmark, it is Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team that is keeping the pressure on, racing at eye-watering speeds towards the end of the leg.
“A win here – on this double-points scoring leg – would be the second consecutive leg victory for the American-flagged team and would vault the pre-race favourite to the top of the overall race leaderboard.
But it is not over yet.
At 1100 UTC on Sunday, the leader had 260 miles to sail, and a 25 mile lead to protect. The fast downwind conditions will require some manoeuvering and there are a handfull of traffic separation zones – exclusion zones – to navigate.
And if that wasn’t enough, Team Malizia, fresh off their record-breaking run, is lurking less than 50 miles back, in third place.
“Hi, it’s Charlie Enright – filling in as your on board reporter,” was the video from 11th Hour Racing Team. “We just did our first gybe off the Norwegian archipelago… It’s pretty windy. We’re about 25 miles ahead of Team Holcim-PRB and 40 miles ahead of Malizia. … we have about 4 hours of big wind and this big push and then it’s down to Denmark and the finish.”
The ETA for the winning boat is after 0430 local time in Aarhus, 0230 GMT, in the early hours of Monday morning.
The WBD/Eurosport team is producing a RAW arrival show for the winning team on the free-to-access eurosport.com page covering The Ocean Race.
Meanwhile, Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm is having a leg they’d rather forget. Overnight, the team broke the port shroud. Fortunately, the crew are all safe and the team was able to ensure the stability of the mast, but is now sailing more slowly towards Aarhus, well off the pace.
Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!