BLOG LEG 5

Meanwhile, we’re all fighting for that one mile that is so hard to keep up and even harder to win

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THE LAST PUSH

Only a few hours left until the arrival and the last night onboard MAPFRE. The truth is that an impressive finish is coming up.

The results after 18 days of racing are coming, and it would be amazing to seal it on the podium.

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A FANTASTIC END TO THE LEG

It is a fantastic end to the leg, being so close after this many miles. Everyone on board is very nervous, but in the end you get used to always living with the pressure.

Let’s see what happens, we are anxious to finish, it’s a tough leg, mainly because it’s been the first really rough one and we suffered under lack of training, but we are all safe and sound, and the boat is performing at 100% of her capacity.

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IKER MARTÍNEZ: “WE ARE NOW ALMOST HEADING HOME”

We tacked and are on port tack now, the much expected shift finally kicked in and after the hight pressure we are now almost heading home.

I don’t think many boats have been able to truly sail today, as we were all in survival mode, trying not to break anything

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50 KNOTS IS A LOT OF WIND

The last 48 hours along the Argentinian coast have been quite tough sailing-wise. I’d like to say I’m enjoying it, but I am not. I want this part of the offshore beatand the leg to end already. We’ve already gone through a lot in the Southern Ocean for the South Atlantic to be beating on us like this.

At times we can see Alvimedica and also Brunel on the AIS. The ones in front are fast and the one behind pushes hard. We are all healthy and in good shape, looking forward to arriving in Itajaí.

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NORTH

We are sailing north and close reaching, chasing Alvimedica. “One at a time”, as Iker puts it. First them, then Abu Dhabi.

There is little left to Cape Horn and it’s tight. It’s like a never-ending 100m sprint. It’s explosive, and we must constantly give 100%.

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SURFING THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC

The five Volvo Ocean 65s are sailing at full steam to Cape Horn and fantastic sailing conditions are propelling us towards the Atlantic Ocean. 30 knots of gusty, strong wind are filling our A3 sail with the power to surf the frozen waves of the Pacific.

The Southern Ocean challenge is the biggest there is in offshore sailing, and riding the waves in 30 knots wind at the aft, with the world’s top sailors is just the best.

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30 KNOTS… CAPE HORN, HERE WE GO!

We have our eyes firmly on the Cape and we are sailing full speed, we are not going to stop until Brazil!

In about 200nm, we will leave the ice exclusion zone behind and we’ll be able to sail straight to Cape Horn

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TIKI TAKA IN THE SOUTHERN OCEAN

We’re here in the middle of a tiki-taka fight in the Volvo In-Port Southern Ocean Race!

“Get ready for a really tough end of the race, the wind will pick up non stop. After Cape Horn we’ll have 40 knots heading upwind, and then 35 to 40 reaching,” says Iker.

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24 HOURS, 23 GYBES

Gybe after gybe we crossed our competitors as close as 50 metres. These crossings make for super exciting racing and today the fleet is as close as predicted

The fleet is sailing together again, and together we’ll reach the new wind. The first to get to Cape Horn is going to have a good leverage on the others. Sailing to Itajaí is going to be tight.

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RECOVERING ENERGY

The sun came up, went down, the wind dropped and the sea state subsided a little, so that we could finally sail calmly enough as to repair sails, winches, check the mast and organize things inside.

We are sailing towards the ice limit and here it doesn’t snow, it hails, so you can do two sports in one. We sail and ski, for when the hail stones gather it gets really slippery and walking on deck gets dangerous.

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LEADING THE FLEET

Second moment of joy of the day was seeing ourselves leading the fleet and on the right track. We know in the future things can change and very quickly as well.

We were on deck and it was I who was closest to the water. Xabi grabbed my jacket and helped me get out of this terrible situation.

 

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CHINESE GYBE

With this speed and due to a big wave, our boat was completely lying on his side. We were on deck. and it was I who was closest water

We’ll get to Cape Horn in 6 or 7 days depending on the ice limit and its movement.

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THE ROARING FORTIES

On our way south we have three barriers to cross: the roaring forties, the furious fifties and the cold sixties. Currently, we are in the roaring forties with gusts of 25 knots that are entertaining us a lot.

“It’s a long leg and this will undoubtedly change, it’s a big casino” says Jean Luc, with a cheery tone in his voice to lift our spirits.

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NOTHING TO LOSE, EVERYTHING TO WIN

Key moments for the fleet in this leg are coming up: first and foremost, we must decide before March 23 whether we’re taking the northern or the southern route

It’s been a good day of repairs and sail changes. We checked where we had leakages, and sealed each one of them.

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LITTLE WINDS AND LOT OF SHIFTS

Everybody well onboard and pushing MAPFRE forward with every drop of sweat.

For every mile sailed towards the east-southeast, the cold gets more noticeable. Tonight was our third night offshore, and hoods and gloves have made it onto the deck.

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FEELING THE COLD AND THE FORCE OF THE SEA

“The next 10 days will be complicated and colder than ever before,” commented Ñeti.

 After winning leg 4 MAPFRE is fit and ready to give everything in this leg.

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SOUTHERN OCEAN, HERE WE COME!

The fleet is really tight and MAPFRE is sailing in the top three all the time. The landscape around us is amazing and after several gybes we reach the open sea.

It wasn’t an easy decision for the Volvo Ocean Race, that’s for sure.

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IKER MARTÍNEZ ABOUT THE START

The cyclone is passing now, it’s very strong, and once she’s gone she’ll leave a high pressure behind and, as incredible as it might sound, the wind will decrease really really quick to almost nothing.

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