The Turkish/USA flagged entry in the Volvo Ocean Race is being slowly but surely hunted down by the trailing pack of Mapfre, Team Brunel and Donfeng.
At 0350UTC, Alvimedica had her lead chopped back to just 3 miles from the 26nm lead she enjoyed at the end of Stage 1 of Leg 9. Even after the start from The Hague she enjoyed a 10nm lead.
However as the boats leave the the coast of Denmark nearing the tip, Alvimedica holds a covering position and all boats appear to be sailing in a similar speed in a similar breeze.
On the face o it a three mile margin, and the ability to stay between your rivals and the mark might not be such a bad thing – as there are few passing lanes – until the fleet leaves the coast of Denmark, at least.
However the routing from Predictwind shows a range of options for the lead and trailing boats and all best are off as they sail the final 50nm to the finish. Winds are predicted to lighten as the fleet nears the Denmark coast and it will take a massive tactical effort by Team Alvimedica to keep control of the race.
By one routing calculation Team Alvimedica is only 16 minutes ahead and by another she is 27m ahead. However the time predicted for the two routes shows one track taking 7hrs and 7 minutes and the other just 4hrs and 36 minutes. But the distances to be sailed for these two markedly different finish times have just 2 sailing miles of difference.
The routing is only good to the entrance of the estuary leading to Gothenburg at which point the tactical options widen and then close in a similar way to other Leg finishes up similar waterways.
Live Coverage has now started on a periodic basis and will be fully started at 0530 UTC.
The Watch Report as of 1900TC on June 21, 2015 reported:
As the fleet has been approaching the northern tip of Denmark, winds have been backing and diminishing.
Team Alvimedica was the first one to get into the transition around 1720 UTC. This morning they had a 15 mile lead which has been disappearing during the day and they are now only 6.5 miles ahead of hunters Dongfeng Race Team, Team Brunel and MAPFRE.
It was not clear how the transition would play out. A park up was expected but it wasn’t clear for how long. Luckily for the front pack they are now in the new breeze from the east, except for Team SCA and Team Vestas Wind who are 30 miles behind, in southeast winds.
For Charlie Enright and his crew, it’s now a matter of keeping an eye on the guys behind, heading upwind along the Danish coast to cover the fleet and not letting anyone to squeeze in between.
Meanwhile, the battle for second is relentless. Dongfeng Race Team, Team Brunel and MAPFRE are within 1.3 miles. It’s match racing at is best. There will be no sleep until Gothenburg for these crews.
I can’t think of a better duel to finish this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. It’s just epic!
There are just 125 miles to the finish. ETA for the leaders is between 1000 and 1600 UTC tomorrow.
Keep an eye on the LIVE tracker tonight. We will be broadcasting live starting at 0530 UTC and will be talking to all the boats until the finish in Gothenburg.