The closest finish yet

On May 27 Team SCA crossed the finish line into Lisbon recording their closest finish to date. Leg 7 saw them finish 4hours 22min 49seconds behind first placed Team Brunel – in one of the closest fleet finishes in this edition of the race. It was an unusual transatlantic. “It was like someone had ironed the Atlantic, so we had flat water and really light winds, this was my 21st Transat and I have never seen the Atlantic like it,” commented skipper Sam Davies. Leg 7 also marks the end of the ‘ocean legs’ and the completion of a true lap of the planet for Team SCA.

The 2,800-mile leg was more like an offshore match race at times, as the fleet often found themselves in physical sight of each other or through AIS. “For me it was a game of snakes and ladders, we would go two steps forward and then be one step back again, but now it’s about how do we get the 0.1 knot of boat speed out of the boat, and we are right into the detail now of how to compete, which is a world away from where we were seven legs ago,” commented Abby Ehler.

2, 800 NM

But such close racing allowed for little error, a mistake even a small one, is punished in such a competitive fleet and Team SCA was forced to make a bold move north in order to close the gap to the fleet ahead. They knew it was a calculated risk, but it was one that paid off as they pulled ahead of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing for a short time.

“We should be happy with this leg with just four hours between the whole fleet finishing. Yes, once again the result in sixth doesn’t show our achievements and progress, but this race isn’t over. The legs are getting shorter, and shorter, and shorter, we have two more legs to go and we’re going to give it everything. It’s going to come out once – it has to!” adds Carolijn Brouwer. 

After a week of fairly benign conditions the team enjoyed a day of 25 plus knots of breeze and big waves the day before the finish. “We were just sending it, and we didn’t say anything to each other but we all had in our head that’s the last really big waves and fun sailing that we’re going to ever do on Team SCA as a team in this race, so I think we had a little twinge of sadness about it,” concluded Sam Davies

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