Speaking with Jean-Luc I find him a little bit worried and very focused on his screen one hour before the start. “I have to look out for 192 waypoints. It will be two days without even closing my eyes.”
“Everything to win, nothing to lose” is the quote from our team mate Rafa Trujillo via email before the start of the leg.
From 30 knots and 3 metre waves, we’ve gone down to 25 knots and 2 metre waves, which is the difference between heaven and hell.
The guys are really tired from the beat up we got in the Bay of Biscay, which will stay in our memories. More than 30 knots, reefs up and down, the J2 fighting the wind like a soldier at the battlefront.
It’s going to be a tough day here with the Bay of Biscay giving a lot to fight for.
The night went calmly in light winds. The forecasted breeze kicked in at 0200 UTC, progressively building up to 23 knots. We arrived at Finisterre in time for sunrise, very close to Abu Dhabi after a tight fight overnight.
We’ll see a lot of changes in the positions in this leg.
Fran: “As always during the first 12 hours of a leg, the pressure was high and errors were costly. There is no room for mistakes in this sprint; you have to sail fast and in the right wind”
The guys are motivated, they want to win, this team is proving each and every moment that they’re here to win
“The way of winning this is watch by watch,” says Antonio Cuervas-Mons.
On port tack our eyes are on Lisbon
“It was time to make a decision, and the crew was on deck discussing when to gybe. We finally decided to do it really quick as not to alert our opponents by moving sails and so on”
No waves, little wind from the aft, and one of our opponents less than a mile ahead … Luckily we can not eat your fingers because we’d all be crippled.
There’s about 1000 miles left to Portugal, about 4 days, and MAPFRE sails the Atlantic waters hand in hand with Team Brunel.
Today it’s more about speed than strategy, we are all sailing in a straight line and waiting for somebody to make the first move.
“A clear opportunity to open a gap will be the Azores High”
A failed sail change left “Brunel” behind and little by little we extended our advantage. When we were sailing next to each other, I was cooking and I almost thought they were going to sail into our boat.
“We estimate our arrival in Portugal in five days time.”
Today we’ll reach the southern part of the ice exclusion zone, and there’ll be several calls to make. We’ll see what awaits us. Is it going to be a gybe party or will we deal with straight line sailing…?
After the sched, we were all really surprised to see Brunel was 22 miles ahead, and that sort of echoed in our heads for a while. For the first time, and quite radically, a boat had got away from the fleet in an extreme way. A spot of light wind they didn’t go through, a shift they were able to catch, and ciao Brunel.