Leg 6, Day 20: Charles’ birthday wishes comes true

People have many different wishes on their birthday, but for any crew member in the Volvo Ocean Race, it would be to gain a place on their rivals. For our skipper, Charles Caudrelier, it seems his birthday wishes have come true with the latest position report at 0700 UTC confirming that Dongfeng Race Team have overtaken their Spanish rivals, MAPFRE.

A mere 0.1 nautical miles may seem like nothing but after 20 days of close combat and trading places, we are pretty sure it will be a huge mental boost for the crew of Dongfeng who are fired up to beat MAPFRE over the finish line in Auckland. As Charles Caudrelier says: “MAPFRE you are the only one on the planet who can offer me a gift today!”

For the two red rivals, the finish line is now under 400 miles away and it is guaranteed to be a dramatic and nail-biting finish with the two boats set to continue their duel all the way to the city of sails as their battle for overall race honours continues to intensify.

At the front of the fleet, the presumed leader, AkzoNobel, is now in stealth mode. Whilst they are expected to reappear in pole position, ahead of Turn the Tide on Plastic and Scallywag, they still have to negotiate the high pressure system sitting over the north tip of New Zealand which will see boat speeds dropping for the leading trio.

With just over 250nm to the finish for the front runners, it is looking likely that the first boat will arrive into Auckland late tomorrow night (local time). With less than 10nm separating the top boats on the tracker, it is all to play for as New Zealand prepares to welcome the fleet.

As local sailor, Daryl Wislang states, “New Zealand has a pretty long and proud history and to be part of it is amazing. It is something I watched when I was growing up and now to be sailing in my fourth Volvo Ocean Race is pretty cool. Above everything else it is about doing what you love and I can’t wait to see everyone in Auckland.”