Leg 10 Day 3: Dongfeng rocketing along towards the top of Scotland

You can tell that Leg 10 from Cardiff to Gothenburg is one of the most exhausting and intense of this race because everyone is working hard on manoeuvres and stacking and not getting much sleep.

The other reason, of course, is that for three crews at least – MAPFRE, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel – there is so much is at stake, with either of them capable of winning the race overall, and so stress levels are up.

In the last 24 hours the fleet has headed out to sea and then gybed back on a northeasterly heading as the big winds of possibly the last big depression to hit this fleet come into play.

Once again we are seeing the sailors getting fire-hosed by tons of water cascading off the bow – the trademark characteristic of these boats in heavy weather.

Dongfeng Race Team has been fighting hard in its battle with MAPFRE who currently lead the stage by four miles from Dongfeng, with Turn the Tide on Plastic in third place (+6), Team AkzoNobel fourth (+7.5) and Team Brunel fifth (+8.5).

Right now the yachts are rocketing towards the remote St Kilda islands on their way to Sweden at average speeds of 23-25 knots and with only 700 miles left to sail to the finish.

The latest video shows some of the first heavy weather action after flatter seas when the first white caps indicated the approach of this powerful weather system.

On Dongfeng navigator Pascal Bidegorry has been spending possibly more time than usual on deck, keeping an eye on the other boats, most of which have been in visual range.

Steering duties on the Chinese-flagged yacht have been shared recently by skipper Charles Caudrelier, Kevin Escoffier, Jack Bouttell and Fabien Delahaye wearing distinctive fluorescent orange gloves.

Just before the weather turned Kevin gave us his summary of the situation on this critical leg. “Now the wind will increase,” he said. “”It will be downwind up to 30 knots and we are going inside the Shetlands tomorrow.

“Now we have to be fast with good manoeuvres and try to catch up on MAPFRE – we have to be fast to close on them…most of the navigation choices have been made now, so now it’s a speed contest,” he added.