Chris Nicholson reviews begining of Leg 6
It's now day seven of Leg Six and this leg is shaping up to be the tightest of the race yet. Us, Puma and Telefonica have been neck and neck at the head of the fleet since leaving Brazil and I don't see this changing between now and Miami.
We had a pretty fast downwind start but unfortunately for us in the first night there was a lot more reaching than running which meant we had to sit back and watch a fair whack of the fleet sail past us. The reality is that the Juan K boats are faster than us in tight reaching conditions and we need to look for our opportunities elsewhere.
Sure enough within 24 hours the breeze came around and sailing deeper angles we did a nice job and managed to get back to the front of the fleet. From there to the north east corner of Brazil the guys sailed really well and as we passed Recife we were a close second behind Puma.
Heading up the Brazilian coast we took a more westerly or inshore course than most of the other boats. Now tradition says go to the east but tradition was based on a conventional weather system, and the conditions we had were anything but conventional so we did some really nice work there.
Once we got around the corner we got into trade wind downwind sailing which we're pretty competitive in. So, over the last 48 hours or so Puma, us and Telefonica have effectively been match racing each other out the front of the fleet, while the other guys are a bit further back.
There's nothing in it and I think it's going to stay this tight for the rest of the leg. We back ourselves in the light stuff though and will be giving it everything to snatch the lead off Puma. Hopefully, the good moves we've made early on will set us up nicely for the future.
Everybody aboard is in good shape which is pretty surprising if you consider we had one day off in Itajai, and one day off in Auckland, so that's two days off since Sanya all the way back in mid-February. With two days off in three months I think our hourly rate might be looking a bit average!
So bring on Miami - none of us can wait to grab a few days break and hopefully the U.S can deliver our first leg win.