Avoiding the worst of the Azores High and making the best of a rough ride home will be the keys to Leg 8 for the four teams jostling for honours in the closest ever Volvo Ocean Race.
There was no let up in the three way scrap for the podium positions overnight as Telefónica, Groupama and PUMA continued to duke it out for the lead on the approach to São Miguel island in the Azores.
It was Telefónica who emerged from the fray marginally ahead to round the Leg 8 waypoint in first place at 0456 UTC — followed just three minutes later by Groupama.
Third placed PUMA rounded at 0508 UTC with CAMPER another 20 minutes behind in fourth and Abu Dhabi in fifth, rounding at 0553 UTC UTC.
The Closest Race
It’s the closest contest in the 39 year history of the Volvo Ocean Race. Four teams can still take the glory with one month to go, and now Leg 8 is underway.
With sixth placed Team Sanya on final approach to the island, this morning the leaders were heading north east in around 12 knots of breeze and preparing for an encounter with a large North Atlantic depression packing up to 40 knots of wind which is expected to sweep across their path on the way to the finish in Lorient.
It’s incredibly tight at the top of the overall leaderboard. Just 23 points split the top four boats of Groupama, Telefónica, PUMA and CAMPER with just two legs and two in-port races left.