SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
Leg 9 Start (final leg) - The chase is on
- Bekking leads out fleet in race to Gothenburg via The Hague
- Fleet expected to arrive in the Dutch port on Friday
LORIENT, France, June 16 – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet set off for Gothenburg, 960 nautical miles away from Lorient, via The Hague, in perfect sailing conditions today with Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) leading the chase to reach the Dutch pit stop first.
There was drama from the very first seconds with Leg 8 winners, Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), and Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), both finding themselves course side at the start line and being forced back to cross for a second time.
Bouwe Bekking, in contrast, stormed away to the perfect start and was still in a narrow lead as he led the fleet out of a packed Lorient with all six boats in hot pursuit.
Team Brunel, like three other boats, have all to sail for in this final leg to Sweden after more than eight months at sea, despite Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) already having the overall title virtually sewn up with an unassailable eight-point lead.
The Dutch boat are currently in second place on 27 points after eight legs, two clear of Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier), and four ahead of MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP).
All have the chance of finishing in second if the last leg results go their way and even fifth-placed Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) could sneak in to grab the runners-up spot if they end up as leg winners and their rivals finish down the field.
Bekking would like nothing better than be first to reach his home country The Hague, probably on Friday, a belated birthday present as he turns 52 years old tomorrow (June 17).
The boats will be precisely timed as they pass the 'finish' line in Scheveningen, near The Hague, on Friday. From 1200 local time onwards the following day, they will depart for Gothenburg with whatever advantage or deficit they took into the pit stop on their rivals.
They are expected to arrive in Gothenburg on Monday (June 22), or, possibly Tuesday.
The nine-month, 38,739nm, marathon event will finally come to a halt in the famous maritime Swedish city on Saturday, June 27, with the Inmarsat In-Port Race Gothenburg.