«Yellow Submarine» Brunel crossed the finish line of stage 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race in Itajai, Brazil, just 15 minutes ahead of her nearest rivals from Dongfeng.
This victory was vital for Brunel, which had not been very successful in the previous rounds of the world, as it allowed the team to go straight from the penultimate place in the overall standings to the top three.
The arithmetic is as follows: 14 points for winning (double the usual cost of first place in the stage), plus 1 point for rounding Cape Horn first, plus 1 bonus point.
Those 16 points didn't come easily for the team. The 7,600-mile leg in dangerous proximity to the Arctic ice was a storm, the death of a Scallywag crewman, a torn MAPFRE mainsail, a critical breakdown of the Vestas mast... Dongfeng had been trailing Brunel by one mile for the last 48 hours. On the approach to the finish line a win was equally likely for both teams.
«It was an incredible stage," said Brunel skipper Bouvet Becking. - Deep in our hearts we feel a lot of sadness for John Fischer (Scallywag). But from a sporting point of view it was a very good stage for us and we get a lot of confidence from that thought».
For Dongfeng, second place and 12 points in the seventh stage may be enough to overtake the round-the-world leaders, the MAPFRE team. Due to a damaged mast chase and torn mainsail MAPFRE could not catch up with the leaders and are now fighting for an extra two points with Turn the Tide on Plastic. Both boats should finish before the end of this working week.