On the bow of the seventh stage of the famous Volvo Ocean Race. For those who have missed the peripetias of recent weeks, itBoat's editorial team summarizes how the voyage from Brazil's port of Itajai to American Newport went.
Slowly the minutes sail away...
«How long do you think this phase will take?»Sam Greenfield, a Dongfeng team reporter, is interested.
«At that speed for years," laughs Kevin Escophire, tanker, "We'll be back home and our wives will have children... and not from us!»
Actually, it's not so bad for Dongfeng to get a break after an extreme fifth stage - then the red boat was left without a mast and couldn't finish. In stage six, Dongfeng only needs a victory, and it is desirable that their closest rival Abu Dhabi did not show brilliant results. But in quiet weather it is difficult to walk with cheerful mood - in the first five days all the boats were hanging within 10 nautical miles of each other. It was boring, but everyone followed the same tactic and was afraid to maneuver first. «Alvimedic»'s navigator admitted that there was little pleasure in feeling like a sheep in the herd, and went north: «It was simple - we were either the first or the last».
As they crossed the equator.
The first to cross the equator was the team of the lady Team SCA, the ninth day of racing. The main fleet again got bored at 10 miles, it seemed that everyone decided to go berserk, betting on a «match» flight at the finish line. The equatorial lull zone «failed» - satisfied Kevin Eskofir of Dongfeng reported that their boat makes 25 knots. «Alvimedica» was in the least advantageous position («either first or last»).
During the sixth phase, teams sailing around the world in October celebrated their 200 days at sea. How does it feel? «We were exhausted," said Charles Codrellier, skipper of Dongfeng. - It's not just us, it's the same on other boats. We can't lie to each other - this race breaks us down slowly, step by step».
The Sino-French team was the first to reach the Bermuda Triangle, on day 13 of the sixth stage. Fortunately, none of the boats added new legends to this infamous place.
The clouds are getting thicker.
Two weeks after a quiet start, and an impressive front got in the way of the Volvo Ocean Race yachts: the clouds thickened, the wind became gusty and changed exactly 180 degrees, from southwest to northeast, the French-Chinese Dongfeng, which took off. But Maprfre was not lucky at all - the yacht suffered a 50 knots gust when the team tried to cross the front line.
On day 15, the boats hit the powerful and warm sea current of the Gulf Stream. However, it did not have much effect on their course. «Important, but not decisive»- so described his meteorologist race. The yachts accelerated towards Newport.
At the finish line.
The first yachts to arrive in Narrangasett Bay were Dongfeng and Abu Dhabi - we saw the match voyage after all, the Chinese boat was only three minutes ahead of the rival. «We finished tightly»," summed up the Abu Dhabi skipper and congratulated the rivals on the victory.
The last place on the podium was taken by Brunel, followed by Mapfre and Team Alvimedica. The sixth came Team SCA, which is especially offensive for girls who often come forward but have not yet learned to hold the lead.
The start of the next phase is scheduled for May 17th, which means that Lisbon is ahead, and the journey of 2800 nautical miles, each of which is given to teams more and more difficult. The fatigue of both people and boats is said to have occurred.