The Polish-flagged team has stretched away to a 90 mile lead, winning the Vasco da Gama Mirpuri Foundation Prize in the process
As skipper Daryl Wislang pushed his WindWhisper Racing Team across the line of 37-degress north latitude at 10:04 UTC on Wednesday morning, his team prepared to turn east towards the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea.
By crossing this 37-degree latitude at the head of both fleets, Wislang’s team wins the Vasco da Gama Mirpuri Foundation Prize, celebrating the heritage of the great navigators of The Ocean Race. In this case, WindWhisper Racing Team navigator Aksel Magdahl will be given the award in Genova.
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While this milestone is in their wake, the team still has over 1000 nautical miles to run to the finish line and very challenging, light conditions ahead.
However they have built a nice margin and should be in good shape for the approach to the Mediterranean Sea with the four chasing boats in the VO65 class all at least 90 miles back.
In the IMOCA fleet, Team Holcim-PRB is working hard to hold onto its lead as both Biotherm and Team Malizia keep nibbling at their advantage.
Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm is now within 10 miles, and Team Malizia has closed up as well, sitting some 33 miles behind.
The IMOCAs, starting behind the VO65s, are just starting to catch the trailing boats in the 65 fleet, as the slow conditions haven’t allowed the best performance from these foiling marvels.
“Normally we have some good wind off the coast of Portugal, but now we don’t have wind… only about 8 knots,” said Biotherm’s Mariana Lobato, the Portuguese sailor on the boat who was hoping for more exciting conditions off her home coastline. “Hopefully it comes soon so we can make it downwind, and fast, and have some fun!”
“It hasn’t been windy for very much time and now we’re back to the J0, the big headsail, in very light winds,” said Biotherm skipper Paul Meilhat.
“We’re trying to stay in a corridor with the maximum wind we can get,” said Nico Lunven on Team Malizia as his team put in a gybe overnight. “It’s still ok, the spinnaker is still flying… Tomorrow (Wednesday) we should have more wind close to the shore with the sea breeze effect.”
Despite the light conditions, the Strait of Gibraltar passage is expected tomorrow (Thursday), proof that progress is being made, albeit slower than the teams would like.
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