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Volvo Ocean Race, MAPFRE and Dongfeng breaking free and heading south

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Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, on board MAPFRE
Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, on board MAPFRE

Racing along the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone, MAPFRE made an incredible 16 gybes between 2130 UTC last night and 0500 UTC this morning - averaging two per hour.

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Dongfeng didn't have the same enthusiasm, throwing in eight gybes over the same period. 

As a result, MAPFRE has increased its lead over that period by 65 percent - from 10 to 16.5 miles. Hard work pays!

Both boats are now past the northernmost limit of the gate and free to continue sailing east-southeast. For the moment, the gybing should end and the crews can take some well-earned rest.

Some 115 miles behind, it's the turn of Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Brunel to follow suit and the tracker shows evidence that they are adopting the same strategy. 

Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic will be next. 

"Finally we have had some wind that the others around us have not had and are making progress in the right direction for a change and it feels great," wrote Dee Caffari, after escaping the clutches of a high pressure system that had seen them bleed miles for several position reports. "Now we have broken this barrier and some options if we can keep up with the routing are quite positive."

The final bit of positive news come from Team Brunel where Annie Lush was on deck in calmer conditions yesterday after being confined to her bunk for three days with a back injury. Great news for Annie and for the team.

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