Published: Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The halyard lock system for Dongfeng Race Team’s J1 – the biggest upwind/reaching sail at the front – is still not fixed. The Volvo Ocean Race team have steadily lost miles on Mapfre and Alvimedica who are now in sight right alongside.

Looking For Luck In Chinese New Year

The Dutch on Brunel have as predicted sailed past the whole fleet to a commanding 100+ mile lead.

The only spanner in the works is a very wide Doldrums area just a few hundred miles ahead. Brunel’s wily navigator may pull off a second smart move and find a way across the maze of vertical air and frustrating calms. After all, Brunel does deserve to keep the lead after being bold enough to take that northern option up to Taiwan last week.

Looking For Luck In Chinese New Year 2

Kevin Escoffier is waiting for calmer weather to repair the J1 halyard lock; it’s not an easy operation to do at the top of the mast in current conditions.

The rest of the fleet are still trying to get back the easterly positioning compared with Brunel, but it’s costing them miles to the south. It’s important for a potentially easier passage of the Doldrums, and a better and faster wind angle when they come out the other side. That was the whole gamble for Brunel - get further east and you are setup with more speed for a couple of weeks of the leg. It has worked so far. Time will tell if the dreaded Doldrums will turn the race on its head again or not.

Looking For Luck In Chinese New Year 3

With Chinese New Year approaching fast the determined men of Dongfeng could do with a bit of luck in their little red envelopes.

Meanwhile, there are two races to cover for the rest of this leg - as the Chinese sailors aren’t missing a moment’s opportunity to train and improve their offshore skills.

GAC powered by Dongfeng Race Team are currently 4th out of the 11 boats in Oman Sail’s Sailing Arabia - the Tour after setting out from Muscat yesterday. Vendee Globe 2004 Skipper Nick Moloney is leading the Chinese team on this important training race for Dongfeng Race Team.