Leg 4, Day 10: Dongfeng in leading group as the breeze picks up

The breeze is starting to stabilise and Dongfeng is among the leading group heading north towards the Equator today, hunting for the fabled northeast trade winds that will propel her to Hong Kong.

Although there is finally some light at the end of this Doldrum tunnel, the weather picture is still pretty uneven for the next 200 miles and there could still be park-ups before the drag race to the coast of mainland China begins.

On board the red and white Volvo Ocean 65 sponsored by Dongfeng Motor Corporation, the crew led by Charles Caudrelier has been contending with rain squalls, thunder and lightning and extreme heat. One recent video shows all hands on deck during a night-time thunderstorm.

Earlier French bowman Kevin Escoffier celebrated the fact that the air and sea temperatures were starting to fall off after reaching record highs.

“Good news!” he tweeted. “Temperatures start to drop after yesterday’s record of water 34C/outside 39.6 C.”

The latest position report shows the fleet divided into three distinct groups with six of the seven yachts in line astern and all moving along at around 12 knots – only the backmarker Team Sun Hung Kai Scallywag, at +37, is out of line, 28 miles to leeward.

The first group is led by Vestas 11th Hour Racing which has Team AkzoNobel on her transom (+1) and with Dongfeng just another two-and-a-half miles back in third place. Then there is a gap of six miles to MAPFRE in fourth place with Turn The Tide on Plastic alongside her. Team Brunel is in sixth position, 33 miles off the lead.

There is still a long way to go on this leg with Dongfeng still 3,118 miles away from the finish line and currently positioned about 540 miles due east of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea.

Caudrelier and his team will be looking to try stay in the leading group over the next week or so and do their best to keep MAPFRE behind them.

Latest position report at 0700UTC:

1.Vestas 11th Hour Racing. DTF: 3,114 nm

2. Team AkzoNobel. DTL: 1nm

3. Dongfeng Race Team. DTL: 3.5nm

4. MAPFRE. DTL: 9.5nm

5. Turn the Tide on Plastic. DTL: 9.6nm

6. Team Brunel. DTL: 33.2nm

7. Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag: DTL: 37.3nm