The Volvo Race leaders on Leg 4 are still making good progress but with the wind easing on the approach to the Solomon Islands.
Dongfeng continues to lead, but team AkzoNobel and MAPFRE have closed on them. The east-west split in the fleet is narrowing as well as the teams try to mitigate risk on approach to the doldrums.
At 20:36 UTC on Saturday, the wind was dropping to less than 10 knots for the leaders.
That could be good news for the trailing boats, who can expect to make up miles as the leaders hit the lighter patch first.
Starting Saturday night UTC. The charts are showing bands of decent breeze and some big holes.
This one will be fought out on a small scale; the winners will be those who take best advantage of the clouds and local effects that are the essence of any Doldrums crossing.
One big question will be how close to get to Santa Ana at the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island. A lot will depend on the timing, if there is a sea breeze it won’t fill much before midday.
The fleet should be there sometime Monday morning local time, right on the cusp of a thermal wind developing.
Note that earlier Saturday, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag doubled back on their track to avoid a reef and added some 40 nm to their position behind the leaders.
These small, isolated reefs are a feature of the area where the teams are sailing now and will continue to be a hazard as they leave the Solomon Islands to port.
Volvo Ocean Race – Leg 4 – Sunday 07 January @ 07:00 UTC
1. Dongfeng Race Team — distance to finish — 3,656 nautical miles
2. team AkzoNobel +0.2 nm
3. MAPFRE +3 nm
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +5 nm
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic +19 nm
6. Team Brunel +31 nm
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +54 nm
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