Skipper Xabi Fernández’s MAPFRE Crew Is In The Lead Into The Mediterranean Sea On Tuesday Afternoon

The Spanish team made a jump on the rest of the fleet by heading further inshore in search of favorable sea breezes following Sunday’s start, with Team Brunel is gaining from following a similar track.

Forty-eight hours later, their tactical approaches have paid huge dividends. At the 1300 UTC position update on Tuesday, MAPFRE won a seven nautical mile lead on Team Brunel, who was themselves almost 40 miles ahead of third-placed Turn the Tide on Plastic.

Dee Caffari’s team went from zeroes to heroes overnight Monday, due to making a late break to the coast earlier in the day. Although too late to catch MAPFRE and Team Brunel, they sailed past the four boats which were stalled further offshore.

“We’re finally moving and I’m very excited,” Caffari posted in the afternoon on Monday. “It was quite painful, but now the sea breeze has filled in… the others are ahead and offshore and they’re not going very fast, so we’re hoping that we can (get past).”

By morning, the Turn the Tide on Plastic crew had squeezed past, vaulting from trailing the fleet to a comparably comfortable third place position.

While MAPFRE raced on upwind towards the Alicante finish line just over 250 nm away, Team Brunel continue to shadow them ten miles to the south.

Meanwhile, things are about to heat up for the chasing pack as they attempt to enter the Strait of Gibraltar. The tiny nine-mile wide gap between Tarifa on the southern tip of Spain and Morocco in northern Africa is renowned as a navigational challenge thanks to the extremely localized weather caused by the wind and water being forced through such a small gap.

On top of that it’s among the world’s busiest waterways, with numerous ships, fishing boats and pleasure craft to dodge.