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All-Women Crew Build On Lead Over Volvo Ocean Race Fleet As Lorient Draws Near

10th June 2015
All-Women Crew Build On Lead Over Volvo Ocean Race Fleet As Lorient Draws Near

#VOR - Team SCA have built slightly on their slim advantage ahead of the pack with just 12 to 15 hours of racing left till port in Lorient in the eighth leg of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race.

Currently 10.6 nautical miles clear of their closest rivals in the returning Team Vestas Wind, the all-women squad have put in their strongest performance of the race thus far, notwithstanding their previous in-port race victories.

Yesterday (Tuesday 9 June) they were the first boat to reach the Bay of Biscay to the west of the main pack.

And what makes their current performance all the sweeter are the tough conditions they face in the Atlantic on what's the shortest leg of the round-the-world race.

“It’s blowing a solid 30 knots in four-metre waves, it’s on the edge. We haven’t seen proper upwind sailing like this so far in the race,” said Volvo Ocean Race official meteorologist Gonzalo Infante on yesterday's sea state.

The conditions delayed Team SCA's tack back towards the coast on their approach to Brittany, according to team navigator Libby Greenhaigh.

But any worries have been blown away by just a cursory glance at their current dashboard position – a streak of magenta far ahead of the tight multicoloured pack.

Within that pack, the sailing is at a knife-edge, both between MAPFRE and Team Alvimedica, jockeying for fourth place within half a nautical mile of each other, and the now back-marking Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team, almost neck-and-neck with just a 0.2 mile split between their positions.

The latter two - struggling with on-board breakages since yesterday morning that have hampered their progress – are fighting to keep their dreams of overall victory alive as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing seem set for a comfortable third-place finish, and the all-important points that come with it.

Not that that's come easy for Azzam skipper Ian Walker, who's reportedly barely slept over the past two days.

Meanwhile, back at the front of the fleet, Team SCA are under no illusions that the race is still wide open.

"It is a different position to be leading the fleet and making the first moves or seeing the fleet make a move you chose not to," wrote Greenhaigh, sister of MAPFRE crew member Rob, on the team blog.

“We haven’t been shy to make the first move or a different manouevre before, but when you are leading, it feels like so much more is at stake.”

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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