Bouwe Bekking's Team Brunel has been the front runner in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on the Newport route since May 1st. On Labor Day, the team under the Dutch flag took command and has not given it up since then. But now the boats are moving closer together again. The persecutors put pressure on. Of the total of 5700 nautical miles, the first boats still have to master around 1400 - including a few challenges.
On-board reporter Brian Carlin called the picture "Dark & Stormy". It originated near Bermuda. Insiders know about the name of the rum specialty of the same name produced there
Bouwe Bekking wrote on Friday afternoon: "We are stepping on the accelerator as hard as we can. We know that we are sailing in less wind. So the pursuers will continue to win on us. That is annoying, but a fact that we have to live with. Our navigator Capey is relaxed in his own way. But he sees and feels that things are now getting down to business. I don't know how many simulations he's doing for the possible routes from here to Newport … And we're discussing that with Pete Burling, ed.). Two very important factors are the high pressure system east of Bermuda and the Gulf Stream, which flows from Florida northeast towards Europ. Its current speed can be up to 5.6 knots."
Where the fleet is and how it goes to Newport
Record participant Bouwe went on to explain: "Unfortunately this is not a straight current. It has its vortices. So if you do it wrong, you will sail against a current of five knots while another boat is sailing at five knots. Then you can lose your losses every hour. But we are confident."
Still on the hunt for catching up: the Spanish second place overall from Team Mapfre
Dee Caffari, whose team fell step by step behind Brunel, the Dongfeng Race Team and Vestas 11th Hour Racing in the last position reports and is now almost 30 nautical miles behind Brunel, knows about the upcoming hurdles, but they are just as good opportunities can. "We still have two days to sail on this express highway. After that the wind will decrease before we jibe. We can expect a lot of action and many sails changes until the finish line. In between we will pass the Gulf Stream and it will be with much colder conditions and winds from the north. There will be no more complaints about the great heat. That's for sure."
Interesting views on board AkzoNobel
While the first six boats to AkzoNobel are only around 40 nautical miles apart, stragglers Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag is still struggling to join the fleet with almost 180 nautical miles. David Witt's team must hope that the leading boats will slow down significantly if they want to intervene in the battle for points again.
Click here for the tracker and the intermediate results
Pete Cummings on his first stage for David Witt's Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, which could have run better so far …