For Dongfeng yesterday was probably the worst 24 hours of the race so far in terms of position loss – at one point from leading most of the way since Newport, the disappointed, but still determined, men of Dongfeng were 35 miles behind Brunel, a huge distance in the current conditions and in this One Design fleet.
Fortunately Pascal’s wish for a better day today at least came partly true and overnight things started to get a little better with some of the loss reclaimed, and Brunel’s lead reduced back to 11 miles as they suffered from a little less wind in their more southerly position.
Skipper Charles Caudrelier’s Blog reads:
We’ve taken a huge punch.
Big loss for us over last 24 hours.
Last night Brunel has taken off in front of all of us. Whilst the rest of the fleet were stuck, they somehow managed to keep the wind all night.
And this morning, just a few metres from us, it was the turn of Mapfre, then Abu Dhabi and even Alvimedica who had been five miles directly behind us, to do the same thing.
With the girls of SCA, its been an expensive transition.
Brunel is 35 miles in front, and the others 10.
In less than one hour we lost 10 miles on them.
What makes it worse is that we had actually been quite happy with our positioning leading up to this transition, to the north of the fleet where we the wind was expected to arrive first.
The Gulf Stream really destabilises things in this area, and the wind changes become random and unpredictable.
So we’ve not had much luck or success in the last 24 hours, but the wheel of fortune is spinning again and we’re going to need a lot of patience to get across this enormous Azores anticyclone which continues to block our route. We were impatient to tackle this trans-atlantic, expecting speed records and great battles along the way, instead it’s a war of nerves in very calm conditions.