Four teams are within four miles of the lead as Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race enters its second week on Sunday morning.
As at 1100 UTC on Sunday morning, Turn the Tide on Plastic was working hard to fend off attacks by Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel as the leading four boats have been gybing back and forth along the northeast coast of Brazil to take advantage of favourable current over the past 18 hours.
“We have Vestas just off our stern, Dongfeng is up to windward, abeam of us and Brunel is just off our hip,” said Bianca Cook from Turn the Tide on Plastic on Sunday morning. “We’ve had a few clouds that haven’t really gone in our favour and so they’ve started to creep up on us…
“We’re concentrating on our performance, tweaking everything all the time, but for sure the pressure is on when these boats are just behind you. But it’s nice to have the lead and we’re confident in our ability to beat these guys to the finish.”
Now free of the Brazilian coast line, the teams will be looking to choose their lane into the doldrums, some 250 miles to the north, although with the fleet this far west, this is forecast to be the easiest of the four crossings in this race.
And while the pressure to perform remains, this weather is probably giving the sailors the most comfortable conditions of the race.
“Life is good on board, and dry on deck and after the first night without squalls the team is well rested and in good spirits,” wrote Simon Fisher from on board Vestas 11th Hour Racing. “We can make out Turn the Tide ahead and Dongfeng behind giving us both motivation to chase and to not get caught.”
Further back, team AkzoNobel, MAPFRE and Scallywag will be looking at the doldrums for an opportunity to close the gap.
Team AkzoNobel, the closest at just 13 miles behind, is already forging a different path, sailing directly north, but fully 25 miles to the east of the leading quartet.
You can follow the progress of the fleet on the race tracker, now testing in live mode for the remainder of the Leg 8.