the week that was

Well not even a week really and what is it they say about March coming like a lamb and going out like a lion. Well you can add the last week to that saying also.
A start of Cardiff that was a drift off with boats struggling to not be swept over the line by the new ebb tide which left race leader Dongfeng Race Team at the back of the fleet alongside the other Greater China entry, Hong Kong’s Scallywag.
To a club racer it appeared obvious (along with a quick check of the Bristol Channel tidal atlas) that the current in the middle is greater than it is at the edges yet it took an interminable time for, ironically the two Chinese boats to get out of what air there was – and most of it bad – behind the other five and head out into the channel.
It paid off for one but not the other with Dongfeng sailing round the fleet while Scallywag missed the breeze and the advantage and having missed the tidal gate in what was relatively no time at all were 100 mile back.
It was an advantage that DFRT held to the Fastnet with them even beating the VOR Helicopter to the Rock where they lead the fleet by a healthy margin.
Off Ireland and another transition and lead change saw a different red boat at the front, Mapfre. On the approach to Irelend the fleet was spread over more than 100 miles, but that was only because Scallywag was so far back having had the frustration of having to anchor for over 4 hours as the travellator which is the Bristol Channel tides reversed direction.
Round the top of Scotland, well almost with the fleet rounding North Ronaldsway instead of Muckle Flugga into some serious breeze and the drag race towards Gothenburg.
Brunel and Mapfre went head to head while Dongfeng went off the boil for reasons they couldn’t figure and were relegated to 5th place at one point. Finally the Chinese entry decided to back the boat down and whatever was round whichever appendage fell away and they quickly (thin an hour or two passed Turn the Tide on Plastic and started hunting down Akzonbel but the race track just wasn’t long enough.
In terms of public involvement? I am told that in the last 24 hours of Leg 10 there were 1 million unique hits to the VOR Website and with media exposure being a significant part of the sponsors’ ROI a huge success there.
And for Scallywag, a consolation in the 24 hour fastest run of the leg.