Breaking his own 24-hour run by almost 80nm, François Gabart has set a new 851nm record on board the Ultime Tri, Macif. As he ploughs on through the Indian Ocean (or is that flies across it?), first he obviously has to finish, but he could well nab first place in the group he will take out to just the four souls to ever hold it (along with Joyon, MacArthur, and Coville).
All boats have now gybed onto port and are lined up, across the lines of latitude, heading for the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 2 finish in Cape Town in five days time. For the past few days it has seemed that there will be gate start for Cape Town as boats jockey for the optimum position before making the decision to break for the east and five days of fast reaching on port tack.
The Anglo-Spanish pair of Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy) still lead, but the 20 miles they earned yesterday at the end of the Doldrums has evaporated before the Equator with less than 10 miles between all three again.
The latest in this long line of outside-the-box designs is the new 40 foot J/121, a boat specifically tailored to appeal to skippers who are 1) tired of having to round up eight to 10 people to go racing and 2) are looking for something other the usual windward-leeward “sausage” courses that now dominate inshore racing.
On Sunday morning, with most of the leading group having finally gybed and sailing an easterly track towards Cape Town, Team Brunel defied expectations and turned back to the southwest in an effort to get closer to the stronger winds of a weather system that is expected to deliver the leading group towards their destination.
Those born in Saint Barth will tell you that wind from the southwest is rather rare on the island. Yet that’s exactly what happened on Saturday in the West Indies, with erratic light winds (very instable from five to eight knots).
Sanya Serenity Coast continues to lead the fleet with just over 1,000 nautical miles to go to Fremantle and has completed the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint - results will be announced after all teams have done so.
At the trophy presentation Blackmore thanked class president John Bacon on behalf of the other owners for the effort he puts in behind the scenes to secure the host clubs, prepare the regatta documents, book the on-water umpires and respond to technical questions.