SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
Bermuda Triangle, MAPFRE knocked down and new fleet compression
The six boats had feared a slow-down and fleet compression through an area of low pressure mid-Atlantic in the geographic triangle that separates Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Miami, but instead the crews continued virtually unhindered.
Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), so determined to close the seven-point gap on overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), continued to hold a slight 10.7nm advantage in the latest position report on Monday (1240 UTC).
Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) led the chasing pack with Azzam hot on their heels 3.3nm astern of them. The three had opened up a small gap over MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP), who were having their own dogfight with Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), some 19nm behind Ian Walker's crew.
MAPFRE suffered a brief scare when the boat was knocked down to crash flat on its side, before it swifly righted itself courtesy of swift teamwork among the crew.
Team SCA, to the east of those two packs, were still trying to keep pace, some 82.9nm behind Dongfeng.
The six boats are expected to escape the Bermuda Triangle later in the day and then face one last major gybe on Tuesday evening before the final sprint for the finish line after an absorbing 5,010nm leg.
Many of the sailors have been admitting that the relentless close quarter sailing of six well-matched crews on identical Volvo Ocean 65 boats is beginning to take its toll on nerves and body alike after seven months at sea.
The boats are forecasted to arrive in Newport on May 7 after 17 days of sailing from Itajaí, Brazil. They will then have 10 days in dock for maintenance before setting off for the final transatlantic crossing to Lisbon, Portugal.
There are then two more legs taking in France (Lorient), The Netherlands (The Hague) and Sweden, with the race concluding on June 27 in Gothenburg after nine months of racing.