After an excellent start in Lorient, Team Brunel has arrived in Scheveningen in fourth place at 04:11 local time today. The route to the Dutch pit-stop was dominated by a strong current and the many exclusion zones.
‘It’s great to see all those Team Brunel fans this early! I’m very happy to be here,’ says Bouwe Bekking on the dock in Scheveningen. ‘We’ve are home now and I’m sure that this is going to be a great pitstop. It’s good that we covered Mapfre and Dongfeng Race Team. We’ve finished not far behind them.’
After the start in Lorient, the seven boats became embroiled in a match race along the coast of Brittany. Team Brunel held the lead for a long time, as the boats zigzagged past lighthouses, across bays and between tiny islets. It was a battle for the best wind, and particularly the most favourable currents. A few hours later, the boats pulled in even closer to the French coast in order to avoid a current in deeper water that had reversed direction. After passing the French port of Brest, Team Brunel unexpectedly lost speed. After the crew had exhausted all possible trimming options without success, skipper Bouwe Bekking decided to let the black and yellow boat drift backwards with the wind. It finally turned out that the culprit was a large mass of seaweed.
Without seaweed on the keel, Team Brunel was once again sailing at the correct speed. After passing the Channel Islands, Team Brunel, Mapfre and Dongfeng Race Team decided to split from the other four boats. The route along the south coast of England turned out to be the right choice. Team Brunel and the other two breakaway boats benefitted from a better wind angle. Team Brunel finally crossed the finish line in Scheveningen in fourth place.
The ninth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race will restart on Saturday 20 June in the order of arrival and with the same time differences as the day before. The boats will make an additional lap off the coast of Scheveningen, before setting sail for the finish in Gothenburg where the boats will be expected around 22 June.