BLOG LEG 4

Like full gallop if we were on horseback, hitting the gas if we were in a car, full throttle if we were on a motor boat.

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HEART-STOPPING LEG FINISH

Neptune, what a leg finish you’re preparing for us! This is as tight as ever. Excitement and racing do not go along easily but it’s difficult not to let passion drive you mad in such circumstances.

Three days of solid sailing lay ahead, as well as a high-pressure system which could be interesting to play

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LESS THAN 1000NM TO AUCKLAND

We remain in really good spirits and want to clinch that very much wished podium place. So far it’s been a tough leg with lots of breakages. The guys have pushed themselves to the limits, skipping off-watches and really keeping up with the very demanding work on deck.

Everybody onboard is happy and motivated to hold on to the lead and soar down to Auckland

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UNTRUSTWORTHY DOLDRUMS

We are 1200nm away from the finish line. This is going to be tight and the finishing order depends on how we sail from here to there.

“This looks like a casino,” says Jean-Luc, watching the fleet all together. All the teams are in the same area – the first may be the last, but the last could be the first.

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THE LEG IS ON FIRE!

We can feel the rivalry and there’s no time for distractions. The fact is that just one gust can get you out of the Doldrums and can solve the race itself. The leg is on fire!

We’re six days away from the finish and we’re really keen to finish the leg in a podium position. There’s motivation, and things are going really well. There’s confidence, teamwork, and the desire to arrive with a good place in Auckland.

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SAILING CHAMPAGNE

A great 24 hours for MAPFRE! Perfect sailing conditions. Enjoying between 20 and 25 knots of wind coming from behind, surfing the waves and covering MAPFRE’s deck with water.

 We will be entering the Doldrums soon and expect a sail change tonight, as the wind will drop a lot. We are all really focused on our battle with Dongfeng competition and anxiety hang in the air.

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NEPTUNE’S VISIT

At approximately 23:00 UTC we heard thuds under the deck, and we immediately knew it was him. Only King Neptune arrives in such fashion, shouting and raging to take his toll on the rookies onboard MAPFRE.

The mainsheet creaks on deck, we’ve been sailing fully powered the whole day, really focused on our watches. Little by little we climbed to where we are now.

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THIRD AGAIN

We get a sked every six hours and the last one was much expected and very welcome! We went from fourth to third, with Team SCA and Dongfeng behind us.

You could tell the guys were exhausted after hardly having any sleep. “We’ve done more sail changes in one night than in the whole race”, said Carlos as he came down for breakfast.

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SAILING IN POHNPEI

Conditions have eased a bit and so we got on the sail changes again. Last night was really tough. For starters, the wind shifted almost 10º, and dropped to 12 knots.

Today, for the first time in more than a week, we have no boats on our AIS system. It feels weird, we know they are somewhere near, but we don’t know exactly where.

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ANTENNAE, HEAT, WAVES CRASHING ON DECK AND MICRONESIA

Little by little we enter the waters of Micronesia and we check the charts. I never thought I would sail in this part of the world. So far we haven’t seen any island, but we might do in the upcoming days!

We’ve been having problems with transmissions on board and as a consequence we can’t get phone calls, nor the weather reports, neither send photos nor video. We can only send out short texts through the Sat-C.

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BLIND

We want to let you all know we are in good health, and even if we can not communicate with our families, each of us wants to send a big hello to each of our beloved ones. We hope we can get this sorted out asap, we can’t wait to hear their voices and read their mails

Guillermo Altadill’s hand is swollen and recovery is slow. : “It’s amazing how difficult life on board with one hand,” said Willy.

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A DARK AND TOUGH NIGHT FOR “MAPFRE”

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Antonio (our bowman) was the only one to receive a gift on this day, very well done Maria! Long live love!

Ñeti was standing on the leeward side and goes “check this out Fran we have a new little window”.

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“MAPFRE” HAS A NEW WINDOW

We’re going from Taiwan to the Solomon Islands non stop and this wind helps us to sail fast. In approx 10 days we should cover 2400 nm; the crew is in really good spirits, motivated thanks to the good wind, and the speed we have. Our faces are covered as to avoid the spray, but it doesn’t really bother us; the guys on deck are happy.

We are sailing towards the north east and this afternoon we expect to bear to the east to start counting down the miles towards New Zealand. In the last 24 hours we kept sailing away from them.

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A FLEET OF 2 AND A FLEET OF 4

The rain and wind were unstable and are causing this stretch towards the fresh wind of the north to be a question of luck. The fleet stays together and no one’s been able to sneak away so far.

Now this is going to be another “big casino”, since there’s lot of options ahead of us.

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GOOD MORNING PHILIPPINES

Yes, north. Not towards south where New Zealand is. This is due the routing showing that we will get more wind there, and just for sailing 300 miles in that direction we will be rewarded with excellent sailing conditions.

It’s like rodeo bull riding

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TOGETHER

At night the wind was quite inconsistent, and we had to change sails 4 times, always from J1 to J2 or the other way around.

We expect at least another 48 hours upwind.

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THE BEGINNING OF A VERY IMPORTANT LEG

At dawn the wind built over 25 knots and we did a reef on the mainsail and peeled from J1 to J2. A lot of spray onboard and Ñeti, Carlos, Willy and Rafa did a quick and great peel. The boat is jumping for good and diving into the waves of the South China Sea.

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