On Thursday, the North Sea should become a gladiatorial arena for sailing. With the approaching low, the fleet will sail faster and faster towards the port of Gothenburg. Current forecasts are now even predicting a swift ride to the finish line. Before that, the teams will likely have to deal with strong and stormy winds and could reach record-breaking speeds. And because it is now getting closer and closer between the three boats that can still win the race, no team will take their foot off the accelerator.
Workplace with high standards in the AkzoNobel team
On Wednesday evening, Xabí Fernandez 'Spanish team Mapfre continued to lead the fleet. Just three nautical miles behind, Charles Caudreliers, the leading Dongfeng Race Team in the overall standings, put pressure on the North Sea at around 10 p.m. German time. Helmsman Kevin Escoffier said: "It's going off. We have to be quick now to get Mapfre."
Gripping pictures of the fleet on course in Gothenburg
The view into the stern of Dongfeng: After the calm the wind came …
And Bouwe Bekking's team Brunel, which was more than eight nautical miles behind at noon, has reduced its deficit on Mapfre to under four nautical miles, persistently fights its way to the two red boats at the head and recalls the furious speed sections in the Southern Ocean. Simeon Tienpont's AkzoNobel team, which was also catching up, and Dee Caffaris from the top three team Turn the Tide on Plastic followed at a distance. David Witt's Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag still has almost 40 nautical miles to equalize.
It's rough again on board the boats like here at Vestas 11th Hour Racing
The course of the stage promises high excitement right up to the finish. The forecasts expect the first boats on Thursday evening or on Friday night in the Swedish port of Gothenburg; maybe they'll come sooner. The last email from any of the seven boats on the teams' blog is more than a day old. This shows how breathless and sleepless the teams experience this short, but extremely demanding and highly stressful stage. "We haven't slept much since the start," reported Brunel's Australian trimmer NinCurtis. There is no time for anything other than sailing, eating and sleeping. There is so much at stake because the outcome of this stage can already bring the preliminary decision in the fight for the overall victory. The most important question that moved experts and fans on Wednesday evening: Will everyone get through their ruthless pursuit not only quickly, but also safely through the deep? And who will reach the highest speed on this stormy North Sea ride? The answers will be available at the latest in the Swedish home port of the racing operators, who will be there for the last time in this 13th edition, before the also Swedish team from Atlant Ocean Racing takes responsibility for the most famous team race around the world for the future.
Chasing the field in wet conditions: David Witt's team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag
Hard work for De Caffaris team Turn the Tide on Plastic
If you hardly want to look at the exciting stage finale on Thursday and need a little distraction: Here you can find the points calculator, where you can use the expected or hoped-for stage results to calculate the new interim result before the eleventh and last stage. And here it goes to the live tracker and the intermediate results.