Since the restart of the fourth and final Leg Zero race off Brittany, Vestas 11th Hour Race have set the rhythm in the south, with MAPFRE, team AkzoNobel, Dongfeng Race Team and Turn the Tide on Plastic in their wake.
At around 1900 UTC on Monday, it looked like the western flyers, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and Team Brunel, had finally got the new wind and would sail around the other group who were struggling.
Now, the southern group, still led by Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Sun Hun Kai/Scallywag, have pulled off a pincer manoeuvre on Team Brunel.
The fleet is now spread over 50 miles of the Bay of Biscay, the biggest split we have seen so far in Leg Zero.
The boats being so far apart means they are sailing in completely different wind. Vestas 11th Hour Racing have 11kts of wind from the west, while Sun Hun Kai/Scallywag have reached the new wind first and are in over 15kts from the north. Team Brunel are stuck in the middle, trying any route that will get them to the new wind.
At 0700 UTC the situation is as follows:
1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing.
2. Turn The Tide on Plastic. Distance to Lead 0.9 nm
3. team AkzoNobel DTL 1.5 nm
4. Dongfeng Race Team DTL 1.7 nm
5. MAPFRE. DTL 5.6 nm
6. Team Brunel. DTL 18.3 nm
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. 23.7 nm
Perhaps the really significant thing is that for the first time in Leg Zero, MAPFRE are trailing the leaders and their overall advantage in the pre-Volvo Ocean Race qualifiers could be vulnerable. That’s because the first boats to Cape Finisterre will benefit from stronger winds and will be able to extend further.
The latest ETA into Lisbon is for 1900 UTC on Wednesday – and there could be a significant time difference between the first and last boats.