SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
Team SCA separated from the pack and crossed first the Strait of Gibraltar
Sunday saw the opening major tactical gamble as Team SCA took the risky option to cross the Strait of Gibraltar via a northern route, while the rest of fleel sailed closer to Morocco and the Spanish city of Ceuta, on the African continent.
The Swedish-backed crew crossed the Strait in the lead around 0540UTC (0740 CEST).
"Everyone except us were going the southerly route through the Strait and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why," said British navigator Greenhalgh. "We wanted to stay with the fleet but we also wanted to stick with our plan – and our plan has us sailing north."
The crew had to wait for their next position report, four hour later, to learn they took the lead with some 21 nautical miles clear of their rivals.
"The team collectively hooted and hollered for joy as Libby told us we were ahead," related their onboard reporter, Corinne Halloran. "Our risk paid off big time and we are now officially sailing in the Atlantic Ocean."
However, 20 minutes after reaching the Atlantic ocean, the wind decreased, Team SCA stopped progessing and their competitors started to catch up.
By 0730UTC (0930 CEST), the seven Volvo Ocean Race boats completed the Mediterranean section of the race and are now heading for Canary Islands.
Will SCA's option give the "Magenta Boat" an edge in the Atlantic Ocean? Will they pick up the trade winds first and speed up in the lead? Time will tell.
RANKING AT 1226 CEST (1026 UTC)
1. Team Vestas Wind - Distance to Cape Town 6 138,4nm
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - 2.3nm from the leader
3. Team Alvimedica - 3.9nm from the leader
4. Dongfeng Race Team - 6.3nm from the leader
5. Team SCA - 6.6nm from the leader
6. Team Brunel - 7.7nm from the leader
7. MAPFRE - 13.8nm from the leader