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Volvo Ocean Race Leg 7, fleet is closing in on Cape Horn

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Volvo Ocean Race Leg 7 from Auckland to Itajai, on board Brunel
Volvo Ocean Race Leg 7 from Auckland to Itajai, on board Brunel

Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag is heading towards the coast of the Chile, as the team attempt to recover from the devastating loss overboard of John Fisher on Monday.

At this point, the team has not confirmed its plans, but the west coast of Chile represents the closest landfall and a relatively safe passage for the strong conditions the team is still facing.

The rest of the fleet continues to push on towards Cape Horn.

As of the 1300 UTC position report on Wednesday, Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking and his crew had opened up a lead of 65-miles since jumping to the front of the pack four days ago.

The teams have been battling heavy winds gusting more than 40 knots and monstrous seas as they sail downwind towards Cape Horn, where the Southern Ocean is forced through the narrow gap between South America and Antarctica.

The famed Cape marks the passage into the South Atlantic Ocean and means the end of Southern Ocean sailing for the fleet. The ETA for rounding Cape Horn is near midday (UTC) on Thursday.

Behind Brunel, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, MAPFRE and Dongfeng Race Team are within 20 miles of each other, with Turn the Tide on Plastic and team AkzoNobel a further 30 miles behind.

The loss of Scallywag’s John Fisher is still weighing on the minds of many sailors. Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari offered this moving tribute, describing the atmosphere on board after she told her crew what had happened to her friend ‘Fish’:

“Many tears were shed both openly and privately. Fish was a friend, a fan and a true supporter of our project. He was a gifted sailor who was doing what he loved and that gives us solace at this difficult time. We now look to the skies above and sadly see another spirit of a lost sailor take flight in an Albatross watching over the rest of us out here.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends and even more so to Team SHK/Scallywag and the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race family that have lost a loved one.”

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