Donfengs’ stint in the lead of Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday was short-lived. By the 18:40 position report Team Brunel had a 15 nm lead from Dongfeng with MAPFRE in third. They kept this until the Sunday 00:40 report but with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing now in second 24 nm adrift, with the fleet sailing at 19 to 22 knots.
By the 03:40 report Abu Dhabi was into the lead, and by the 06:40 report (the latest to hand) they have a 5 nm lead from MAPFRE, with Dongfeng third and Alvimedica fourth.
But the most interesting turn of events happened at 01:30 UTC. Team Brunel was just 8 nm east of the Duff Islands when they decided to gybe to the east. They went left for 46 nm before gybing back to the south. They lost the lead but will this pay off?
“What a crazy night!” said Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Skipper Ian Walker who is back in the lead.
“Huge clouds, loads of rain, massive gains and losses. Leg 4 has just been reset. Now we find ourselves sailing in 20 knots more wind than forecast and literally ripping towards Auckland. As fast as we make plans in the nav-station we are having to tear them up and start again.”
“As per normal we have positioned ourselves in the middle in the hope we will cover ourselves in the event of the unexpected. I am not sure how this will play out but would favour the guys in the east right now.”
“We have another 250 miles of good wind before another transition in light winds. We have to get this one right as time is running out to get to Auckland. It’s turning into a fantastic race and with light winds forecast for the end it will surely be a nail biter,” says Ian Walker.
Volvo Ocean Race – Leg 4 – 22 February 2015
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – Distance to Finish 1618 nm
2. MAPFRE – DTL 5.4 nm
3. Dongfeng Race Team – DTL 8.2 nm
4. Team Alvimedica DTL 18.4 nm
5. Team Brunel – DTL 33.9 nm
6. Team SCA – DTL 74.4 nm