So we are left with a scenario that, had it been offered to a Hollywood producer would, I am sure, have been turned away as just too fanciful. 44,000 miles of racing and, if you take the extra point for shortest elapsed time into account. leaving 3 teams on identical points on the start line here in Gothenburg.
So positions overall on the Leg 11 really don’t matter. Akzonobel is unlikely to spoil the podium party and whoever of Dongeng, Mapfre or Brunel breach the finish line first will take the overall win for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race.
Whomever that will be it will be a first. The first Spanish win in the history of the race. The first Chinese winner, either team or crew member. The first win in 8 attempts for Bowwe Bekking, the first female winner whichever team wins and the last winner of the Volvo Ocean Race Trophy under Volvo’s (AB & Cars) ownership.
2 in port races to go and barring accidents, or two ‘not to form’ performances that should be Mapfre’s victory with, most likely, Dongfeng in the runner up position but the current scenario on the offshore scoreboard means that the round the cans results will have little or no impact on the offshore racing. In this writer’s opinion a welcome situation as it would be a shame if 45,000 mile of ocean racing were decided by inshore racing.
SO will we see a 3 boat match race between here and Den Haag? Or will one or more of the contenders grab the leg by the scruff of the neck and just sail their own race or will we see 2 reds and a yellow glued together like a bungee cord.
Caution or Bravado?
And which way will pay? Questions that I am sure are being debated as I write in various team de-briefings and briefings in and around the race village over the next couple of days.
Who will win? I really don’t know. Mapfre have proven strong and been at the top since the start. Brunel have really hit a seam of form that seemed unlikely up until Auckland. Dongfeng have not yet won a leg but have an obvious consistency and still, when they put it together, have a boat speed unmatched by the rest of the fleet.
700 miles, the final 700 miles will decide the overall winner of this edition, it’s almost like an Olympic Medal Race. Almost.