Leg 8, Day 9: Dongfeng is ingood shape as she hits the northeast Trades

Charles Caudrelier and his crew on Dongfeng are in a strong position after the lottery of the Doldrums, escaping into the northeast Tradewinds in the Sargasso Sea in third position.

While the red and white Chinese Volvo Ocean 65 has held station, the big loser has been Vestas 11th Hour Racing which has dropped from the leading bunch on the eastern side of the fleet to fourth place, and Team AkzoNobel, which is now sixth.

The main winner has been Bouwe Bekking’s crew on Team Brunel who have moved up from fourth to take the lead, with a 10-mile margin over Turn the Tide on Plastic and 11.7 miles ahead of Dongfeng. MAPFRE is fifth but 52 miles behind Dongfeng.

The fleet is spread across 65 miles of ocean with Dongfeng on the western edge, closest to the mouth of the Amazon. The boats are now making good headway north on starboard tack, driven by a strong northeast Tradewind belt that stretches across the northern Atlantic from Spain to the Caribbean.

On board Dongfeng Marie Riou has been washing hair in the rain. “I don’t have my hair brush so I am a bit in trouble but we don’t care,” she said. Jack Bouttell says that after more than a week of racing in the Tropics there is “a good fragrance in the boat, I’d say.”

Video footage shows the crew sailing in a heavy tropical downpour. “I love this, this is great,” says Stu Bannatyne while driving in the rain. “All that sunshine is no good – it’s great to have a bit of rain every now and again.”

Position report at 9h16UTC:
1 - Team Brunel 2.845nm from Newport
2 - Dongfeng Race Team 11.6nm from the leader
3 - Turn The Tide of Plastic 12nm
4 - Vestas 11th Hour 33.4nm
5 - MAPFRE 66.7nm
6 - AkzoNobel 82.1nm
7 - Scallywag 150nm