27 May 2015: Team Brunel triumphed in Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race today to bolster their hopes of finishing the round-the-world challenge with a podium place – or even snatching overall victory.
The Dutch boat sailed a near faultless transatlantic stage from Newport, USA to Lisbon, Portugal, edging MAPFRE into second, just under 22 minutes behind. Team Alvimedica took third place.
With race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing finishing fifth, hopes of an overall win remain alive for Team Brunel.
Few sailors in the fleet will savour a win over one of the race’s trademark legs more than Team Brunel’s 51-year-old skipper, Bouwe Bekking, in his record-equalling seventh appearance.
He has certainly experienced the extremes of sailing the Atlantic. In the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race edition he was forced to abandon his sinking boat during the same stage.
“We sailed a tremendous leg but just at the end when there was no wind, it was getting a bit gnarly,” said Bouwe. “But we pulled it off.”
The final two stages, to Lorient, France and then Gothenburg, Sweden via a pit-stop in The Hague, will once again be contested by seven boats.
Team Vestas Wind will rejoin the fleet for the first time since November, when their boat was grounded on a reef in the Indian Ocean. After a four-month rebuild in Italy, the boat was transported by sea and road to Lisbon, ready for a competitive comeback in the in-port race.
The race concludes on 27 June after nine months and 38,739nm of sailing, visiting 11 ports and every continent.
Throughout, the teams have been able to rely on Inmarsat satellite connectivity for safety communications, weather reports and race logistics. All the drama and excitement of the race is brought to a global audience by each of the boat’s Onboard Reporters, who use Inmarsat FleetBroadband to transmit video, images and reports to Race HQ.
For all the latest from the boats visit www.inmarsat.com/vor.