• 16-FEB-2015

Team Brunel cashing in on bold decision to sail north, but...

Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) is cashing in on their decision to sail north of the rest of the fleet early in the leg. The stronger winds and better angles towards Auckland, New Zealand, have propelled the Dutch boat 78.1nm (940 UTC) clear of the main pack led by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR).

Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) are tight behind fourth-placed Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) the overall race leaders which suffered from a J1 breakage this week-end, with Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) still sailing north of the rest of the fleet and biding their time before making their own decision to bear south.

However it is not a win yet for the Dutch boat, as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing appears to be gaining quickly miles on the current leg's leader (13nm in 3 hours). The upcoming Doldrums the fleet will be crossing for the 3rd time this Friday, could be once again a game changer. - Communications antennae malfunction hampers Spanish boat - MAPFRE 'sailing blind'
Spanish boat MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) is 'sailing blind' in Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Monday after a communications problem on board prevented them receiving key weather and other data.Race Control was alerted to the problem over the weekend and has since worked with their suppliers and the boat to find a solution.

Gonzalo Infante, who runs the Race's high-tech communications control room with the six-strong fleet, said on Monday it was not clear exactly what had caused of the issue, which involves two antennae not functioning."We can still send and receive plain text but cannot send detailed weather data. This has impacted their ability to make strategic decisions – they are sailing blind," he said. Infante added that the Race was working with its suppliers of communications hardware and software on the boat to find a diagnosis and fix.

In a message from the boat, MAPFRE's Onboard Reporter, Francisco Vignale (ARG), wrote: "We only have email which works. Jean Luc (Nélias-FRA), our navigator, is very limited in his work and can not forecast or work out future routes."

Additionally, the crew is unable to send out images or videos, which have kept their many fans up to date with progress so far in the race.Despite their challenges, MAPFRE were very much in the thick of the battle to finish first in Auckland after the 5,264-nautical mile (nm) stage from Sanya.