Under conditions that would be survival conditions for almost everybody, two teams continue at full blast on the Southern Indian Ocean, with the boats sometimes at sighting distance, on a crazy match race with winds that reached 50kt, gusting 70. All the others are already behind while Dongfeng leads, furiously pursued by Mapfre, that for a short time managed to lead the race.
Before the race started I had said that the Chinese team, with mostly a French crew was the strongest and that Mapfre, the Spanish team mostly with a Spanish crew, would be the only one able to fight Dongfeng. A pity all the crews are not fully constituted by top sailors. The race would be much more interesting if that were the case, but as it is, I never suspected that Mapfre could put such a big fight to Dongfeng.
With about 2000 nm to sail till Melbourne, the distance between the leader and the chaser is only 8nm. They will finish the race in strong conditions with winds over 20k in about 4 days. I hope they have an helicopter crew for filming the finnish that promises to be awesome.
After leading the 2nd leg for most of the time, Dongfeng was beaten by Mapfre on the very last part of the race. I bet the guys from Dongfeng, having again dominated all the 3rd leg, are determined not to let that happen again. Anyway both crews deserve a big cheer for what they have already accomplished, a fantastic race on very difficult conditions. They should be exhausted by now.
Some others have made mistakes and paid for them in lost time if not in breakage:
But one thing is for sure: this leg will enter VOR history as one of the most difficult and one that gave us spectacular images and movies. You can follow the race here: