Leg 7, Day 15: Sneaking round the outside of the High

Dongfeng Race Team is locked in a minute-by-minute battle with Team Brunel at the head of the fleet on the 15th day at sea, as the two crews sneak round the eastern side of the expanding high pressure system in the south Atlantic.

After re-taking the lead Brunel, skippered by Bouwe Bekking, has managed to gain slightly by being further east – away from the light winds – with Dongfeng dropping back in the latest position report to just 4.4 nautical miles behind.

With less than 950 miles to go to the finish at Itajai this continues to be a fascinating battle as the two crews vie for the leg win in a stage that counts for double-points.

Behind the leaders Team AkzoNobel (+50) is looking in a strong position for third place at the very least. But behind her the two backmarkers, Turn the Tide on Plastic (+182) and MAPFRE (+286) look set to get enveloped, as the area of light winds spreads across the ocean in front of them.

The routing suggests both those boats are likely to finish well behind the top-three. This continues to present a big opportunity for Charles Caudrelier and his crew on Dongfeng to catch up on the overall scoreboard.

On MAPFRE the Spanish skipper, Xabi Fernandez, seems well aware of the danger. In his latest message from on board he said he was looking forward to getting to Brazil and launching what he called “a massive push for the last third of the race.”

So it is all to play for as the crews enjoy some lighter and warmer conditions – Dongfeng is currently making 14 knots of boatspeed in 12.5 knots of south-southwesterly breeze - a welcome change after the brutal test of the Southern Ocean.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing is now safely tied up in Port Stanley harbour as its crew assesses what to do next following the dismasting south the Falklands. Meanwhile Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag is closing on the Chilean coast at a point about 1,000 miles north of Cape Horn.

Position report at 13:00 UTC
1 - Team Brunel, 886nm to finish
2 - Dongfeng Race Team, 13,1nm to the leader
3 - Team AkzoNobel at 68,8nm
4 - Turn The Tide at 176nm
5 - MAPFRE at 262nm
Vestas 11th Hour SUS