Leg 8 from ItajaÍ to Newport. Joan Vila, navigator, trimming © Ugo Fonollá/MAPFRE/Volvo Ocean Race

After the doldrums, we have been sailing with over 20 knot NE trade winds for the last couple of days, which finally allowed to do fast speeds and a nice progress towards Newport. Weather conditions are quite nice, with no showers developing yet, just some occasional cloudiness.

The whole fleet is doing very similar headings so far, aiming low of the direct route to Newport to go around the Bermuda high. Wind direction is already shifting ENE to E today, and we expect to lift further to the SE  in a couple of days, with a jibe to port  likely somewhere west of Bermuda.

The forecasts are showing us a front on our way to Bermuda to Newport, with possibly some strong SW ahead to the S of the front, changing to a fresh (and colder!) NE. But most important a high pressure ridge before arriving Newport could well compress the fleet and shuffle current positions… tricky finishing.

On board everything is going well . We are finally stabilized from our problems early in the leg, and main batteries are fully operational now thanks to MasterVolt support. We have  also developed a good system  to operate the keel manually, since the keep PLC is not working. All communication issues were sorted with our backups, and had sorted all the by-pass to the power distribution unit that failed.

Joan Vila.