It looks as if Maserati, with just 524 nautical miles to go to Rio, should easily break the race record of 12 days, 16 hours and 49 minutes set in 2000. But as said previously, the sea is a cruel place and anything can happen in these closing miles. The biggest obstacle they will face is the very light winds one always experiences heading in to Rio.
The tussle for second across the line will be a few days after Maserati, and should be between Scarlet Runner and Explora, both of whom have still to break that 1000 nautical mile to go barrier – something they should do within the next 24 hours.
Scarlet Runner is now heading in a more south westerly direction, having worked hard to get north west all race. She is travelling at a shade under 13 knots, whereas Explora which is further south and looking to get more north west now, is sailing at 9 knots. It’s anyones game as no-one yet knows which route has paid the better dividends. The next few days will reveal this as they converge.
I must admit to having admired the performance of Privateer – a 40-footer being sailed two-up. She has been sailing fast and is well positioned in the north – and may well be a handicap contender in the next few days.
Coming into contention after an indifferent first week is Rocket/Stop Rhino Poaching. She is right up with the second batch of front-runners – and should be as she is a 54-footer compared to the 30-something feet of Investec Ciao Bella and Iskareen – both of who are sailing incredibly well, and could also be contenders for the overall handicap honours.
Yolo, another 2-up crew, continues to lead Class 2. Vulcan 44, second for much of the race so far has dropped to 5th while Cool Runnings has made her way to second.
And in the Class 3 multihull division, the top three spots have changed yet again with Tranquilo in the lead.
After the excitement of the line honours winner finishing has died down, the focus will move exclusively to whom could win the race overall on handicap – and it is the handicap winner which wins the race overall. Maserati has a chance of taking the double of line and handicap honours, and this will depend very much on how quickly the other boats can finish. It’s too early to speculate, although it could be any one of the top boats Class 1 mentioned so far in this report.
In terms of the weather, the wind looks as if it will start going light for the next 24 to 48 hours – and this will be a complete game-changer. As always, watch this space.
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