Team Tyco is still in the leading position as VOR fleet heads towards Maderia

While John Kostecki’s illbruck has interestingly spent the last six hours investing in some southerly miles, Tyco, with ASSA ABLOY snapping at their heels, still remain the pace-setters as the fleet heads towards the Atlantic island of Maderia.

Despite being in the lead, the crew of Tyco seem to be enjoying life a little more and catching up on some much needed rest. “It’s a very pleasant Saturday afternoon onboard Tyco,” reported bowman Guy Salter, “we are reaching with the code zero sail up with ASSA ABLOY still in view below us – in fact they have been in sight for the last day and a half. They prove a very obvious guide to our progress within this small battle within the larger prize of first to Cape Town (leg one finish).”

Illbruck continue to be one of the most rounded performers in the fleet as they have been able to shake off Grant Dalton’s Frers design after several days of neck and neck sailing. “We have been able to see Amer Sports One everyday but finally with some reaching we pulled out five miles on them,” explained illbruck watch captain Mark Christensen.

This afternoon Team News Corp became the fourth yacht to report masthead problems as their Code 3 spinnaker ripped during a broach last night and they incurred damage to the spinnaker locks (device at masthead used to take strain from the halyard and save chafe).

The full crew were put into an extended watch system to repair the damage. Bowman Justin Slattery had the unenviable task of spending six hours at the top of the mast repairing the locks while sail-coordinator, Alby Pratt, sat down below re-stitching the spinnaker.

“We’re nearly back up to full speed,” said Team News Corp navigator Ross Field this afternoon. “We’re about 2.2 miles behind illbruck (at 12.30hrs GMT) and if it hadn’t been for the damage, we’d be well in the lead. During the night, we were ahead of (then leaders) ASSA ABLOY. But we’re now back in touch with them, only about 12miles behind. We veered east due to the damage, but we also wanted to get over east close to Madeira and the Canaries to get on a better angle for the eastern side of the Azores High and into the north-east trades (winds). “If ocean racing were meant to be easy, everyone would be out here doing it,” added Field.

Leg One Positions – Day 7, 29 September – 1600GMT