First the sun broke the fog in time for the start of stage 9, then the yellow boat took command and led the fleet from Newport on course to Cardiff. Team Brunel is sailing on the wave of success after the recent strong results and the dominant victory in the harbor race off Newport. Around two and a half hours after the start, the Dutch opened the transatlantic stage, which was endowed with double the number of points, in some cases with about half a knot more speed than the closest pursuers Dongfeng and Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag at the time. The seven Volvo yachts still had to travel around 2900 of the total of 3300 nautical miles to the British port of destination Cardiff. They are expected there in just over a week.
Determined at the wheel: Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking
The intermediate result around two and a half hours after the start in Newport
Whether Team Brunel can still intervene in the fight for the overall victory after a poor start in the eighth circumnavigation of the world by its skipper and the impressive increase in the past two months will depend crucially on this stage. The basic requirement would be another top result and - from Brunel's point of view - ideally other teams that are between Brunel and the teams Mapfre (53 points) and Dongfeng (50 points), which are currently ahead in the overall standings with a good cushion of points. Because Brunel was only able to collect 42 points as third-placed boat, despite the terrific results recently. Which would make up eleven points on the front runners.
"We know that we have to beat the red boats," said Bouwe Bekking before the start, referring to Mapfre and Dongfeng. "Ideally, we'll win the stage and they'll finish in 6th and 7th. But we can't control the second part. We can only sail as well as possible and work for a good result."
Here again the complete transmission at the start of the ninth stage from Newport to Cardiff
Is he dreaming of a triple? Mapfres helmsman and trimmer Blair Tuke has the nose in the duel for the coveted triple crown in the remote duel with his 49er helmsman, friend, Olympic champion and America's Cup winner Peter Burling. Can the New Zealander be the first sailor in history to complete his collection of titles with Mapfre and, after winning the Olympics and America's Cup, also win the Volvo Ocean Race? Peter Burling is a little further away from this possible triple in Brunel's team …
The start of the stage in front of Newport was a spectacle worth seeing for the fans along the banks of Fort Adams. Before that, the entire fleet had enthusiastically bid farewell to America's sailing capital, Newport. Bouwe Bekking's compatriot and Akzo Nobel skipper Simeon Tienpont had said: "It was a gift that we could be here. Everyone is so interested in this race. The whole city is built around sailing."
Liz Wardley dominates the forecastle for her team Turn the Tide on Plastic
Received a penalty at the first turning point after pushing too cheekily in front of Vestas 11th Hour Racing: Turn-the Tide-on-Plastic skipper Dee Caffari and her 50:50 mixed team. Guest reporter and sailing professional Ken Read commented on the incident from the air and said: "Well, that means Charlie Enright (Vestas-Skipper, d. Ed.) Also did a bit of Hollywood. But he had to change his course …"
The teams described the weather forecast for the current stage as "complex" before the start, because several weather systems are involved. It is also important to interpret the Gulf Stream correctly. "It's a demanding stage. We have to make a decision early on that could lead to a division of the fleet. It could be the key situation of this stage. After that, we will get strong winds. We will press the accelerator. The risk is that you give too much gas. But we have no choice, we will give 100 percent and it will be interesting to watch that from land, because we will be really very fast."
Before the start of the ninth stage, the six skippers and skipper Dee Caffari talked about the upcoming challenges