Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have finally given ground to Team Brunel after leading the Volvo Ocean Race for almost a week.
Ian Walker’s men edged ahead of the fleet on October 21 and kept in front until Tuesday morning when Team Brunel moved into a 59-nautical mile advantage.
But Team Brunel’s position only reflects their placing in the most easterly point of the fleet, closer to the opening leg finish in Cape Town.
Team Vestas Wind have gambled by following a course to the west of the two leaders but it was paying slim dividends with less breeze where they were.
Spain’s MAPFRE went even more for broke, heading 230nm west of Team Brunel but in the best gusts of the fleet.
“It’s almost as if we’re in a three-way tie for the lead with each boat making bets as to where the breeze is going to be strongest as we make our way around the western edge of the St Helena High,” said Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s onboard reporter, Matt Knighton.
“Vestas is way out west. We went westward a couple of times during the day to try and find more wind. Brunel opted to continue on our original southerly route and not west.
“Three boats, spanning 100 miles of ocean, each with a chance of working around the other two to get around the high fastest. We’ve been routing all of our positions and if you were to trust the computer, we’d all be finishing within an hour of each other with Abu Dhabi in the lead.”
The boats are expected to complete the 6,487nm first leg from Alicante to Cape Town around November 5after setting out on October 11.