Crews look forward to the downwind conditions

The fleet, led by Ericsson 4, is converging on the southeast corner of the ice exclusion zone just over three nautical miles ahead, where sheets will be eased and spinnakers hoisted as a new and exciting downwind game begins.

“Everyone is just lining up for what looks like a rip-roaring ride on the second part of this leg into Galway,” explained Guy Salter on board Ericsson 4. The outlook for the next 24 hours shows a big front coming in from the northwest and the fleet can expect some more typical trans-Atlantic weather.

“We have a lot of respect for the weather in the Atlantic. There is definitely that feeling here on our boat, which has done a lot of miles and is not the newest in the fleet” added Delta Lloyd’s navigator Wouter Verbraak. “The first goal is to get the boat to Galway in one piece, and the second goal is to push hard when we can.”

The crew of Green Dragon appears to be looking forward to this point of the leg. Skipper Ian Walker commented: “We have not sailed in close proximity to the other boats in weather like that, so it will be interesting for everyone. The whole leg is setting up for a grandstand finish in Galway Bay.”

Currently, only ten miles separate pathfinders Ericsson 4 and Telefónica Black, from third place Telefónica Blue. Delta Lloyd leads the second string from PUMA, Green Dragon and Ericsson 3 (pictured) who are having a torrid time after losing three positions at the scoring gate.

Telefónica Blue has averaged the highest boat speed of 17 knots over the past three hours and also holds the fastest 24-hour run of 269 nm. Computer routing software is predicting a finish in Galway early on Sunday (24 May) morning based on current performance.

Positions – Leg Seven Day 5

1. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) DTL 1,499 nm
2. Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) 2
3. Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) 10
4. Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermúdez/ESP) 14
5. PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) 19
6. Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) 33
7. Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) 94

Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS

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