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Damian Foxall & Team Lead Volvo Ocean Race Fleet Around Porto Santo

26th October 2017
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Vests 11th Hour Racing catch the sunrise after rounding Porto Santo Vests 11th Hour Racing catch the sunrise after rounding Porto Santo Photo: James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

#VOR - Vestas 11th Hour Racing were the first team of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet to round Porto Santo in the early hours of this morning (Thursday 26 October), beginning the home stretch of Leg 1 to Lisbon.

But it’s still a closely run thing as the six boats behind had all passed the island within the next three hours and are running hard to the finish line.

The leaders, with Ireland’s Damian Foxall on deck, put the first gybe in after leaving Porto Santo to starboard, due to a large atmospheric wake off Madeira to the port side.

Next on the agenda is the new ‘virtual mark’ — a waypoint called Porto Santos North — due north of the fleet, before a slight right turn will take them to Lisbon and the finishing line.

Plain sailing it is not for Vestas and crew, who had a scare overnight when a hose popped off a water ballast tank and 800 litres of water that should have been helping to stabilise the boat instead flooded down to leeward down below.

However, the water was quickly bailed, the hose reconnected, and the team back up to 100%. The focus will be on keeping MAPFRE and Team AkzoNobel behind and setting up for the final approach to Lisbon for Saturday.

Further back in the fleet, Dongfeng Race Team is beginning to grind down the group of four fighting for fourth place, nearly two miles ahead of the tightly-grouped pack.

“It’s important to get around the island first. Now we are going to be sailing downwind, so the more you are north, the more you will be leading,” said navigator Pascal Bidégorry. “For this group, it is better to be ahead. That is why we pushed so hard overnight.”

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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