Another final thriller in the Volvo Ocean Race! Bouwe Bekking's Team Brunel stubbornly defends its lead on stage 8, but Charles Caudreliers, the Dongfeng Race Team, leading in the overall standings, and Charlie Enright's Vestas 11th Hour Racing stick to the stern of the yellow boat. In the past few days, Dongfeng in particular came within a few nautical miles of the "flying Dutch". Often there is visual contact. So far, however, Dongfeng has not gotten past Brunel. On Sunday lunchtime, the yellow and red boats were separated by around eight nautical miles. Vestas has also caught up, but has to make up 16 nautical miles on the last complicated 600 nautical miles to the port of Newport.
This beautiful shot, which shows Team Brunel on the way to Newport, is not from Brunel's reporter on board, but from Dongfeng's media man Jerémie Lecauday, who sent his drone towards the Dutch
In the final sprint, every second counts: Kyle Langford (at the wheel) and Peter Burling bring Team Brunel to Newport as quickly as possible
The tasks to be solved in the final sprint are complex because the road to Newport is blocked by a belt of calm. Team Brunel has positioned itself most westerly and therefore closer to the direct line to Newport. Vestas is currently the most easterly boat in this three-way battle and could benefit most if the trio decides to circumnavigate the dangerously low wind to the east. The finishers are expected to arrive on Tuesday night or early Tuesday morning. Until then, the motto of the teams on the leading boats should be the same: "Breathless to Newport".
Charles Caudreliers Dongfeng Race Team chases Team Brunel
"Of course we'd rather be in the lead, but our position is not too bad. We're pretty close. It could look a lot worse," said Charles Caudrelier, referring to the final spurt, which has kept the crews under high tension for days. Vestas navigator Simon Fisher is also certain: "At the end of the day, the full action will take place in quick succession. If a high pressure area is approaching us. The wind will keep decreasing while we have to catch the right moment for the last jibe. Our biggest Competitors are positioned further west. They'll have better pressure, but we could get the wind shift first. " Brunel's skipper Bouwe Bekking also knows that his team now has to give everything to maintain the lead that was fought for on May 1st and has been defended since then: "Everyone on board is in sprint mode so that we can keep that precious little lead."
Little fun between NinCurtis and Kyle Langford in Team Brunel and a good symbolic image: the fight for the stage win and the podium has long since assumed the quality of an exciting boxing match
How will the three-way fight end at the finish? Vestas sailor JenMai Hansen might just be thinking about that. The Rio 49er bronze medalist knows how to make boats fast …
Team Brunel in sprint mode: Seen here is Kyle Langford
Here you can find the live tracker and the intermediate results.
Having fun catching up: Mark Towill at the wheel for the Vestas 11th Hour Racing team
The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team is on a podium, but still has a chance to win. A stage success would be balm on the wounds for the so far long-suffering team …