The fleet has slowed down, and is now split from east to west, with Team Alvimedica in the most westerly positioned, and MAPFRE all the way to the east… and over 300nm in between.
The front three boats are playing the middle and remain in close proximity. In the fickle winds today, the lead group appears eager to stay in touch with each other, copying every move the other makes, changing course at the same time.
“The thing about light airs is that’s when I think we need to try hardest,” explained Abu Dhabi Ocean Race skipper Ian Walker. “If you can get out of the light airs quicker than the others, you can make really big gains. We continue to work the boat as hard as possible. The fact that we are doing one and a half knots instead of twenty knots, in this range, any extra bit of speed is almost more important in light winds. So we are sleeping on the bow to try to get the best trim possible.”
By evening the leading trio have begun to stabilise a little more at around 2100. If these conditions persist, then they could stretch their advantage on the chasing pack. But the crew on Alvimedica, after assisting Team Vestas Wind during their accident, remain optimistic about their chances.
“We are back on the racetrack and doing everything we can to rejoin the fleet,” notes reporter Amory Ross on Alvimedica. “During the last race on PUMA I saw Telefonica erase a 24-hour pit stop and 400-mile deficit on Leg 5 to finish second to us by only 12 minutes. So we know anything is possible, and with the knowledge that our friends on Vestas are getting on with it we are very much trying to do the same!”
Leg 2 Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 2426.5 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 5.2 nm Distance to Lead
3. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 6.0 nm DTL
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 110.9 nm DTL
5. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 117.0 DTL
6. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 140.4 nm DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Suspended racing