Published: Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Team SCA found wind on Monday while the rest of the fleet remained parked, making inroads into their deficit on Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race – but the team’s happiness could be short-lived.

No Time To Rest In Leg 4 Of Volvo Ocean Race

(Photo by Anna-Lena Elled / Team SCA)

At 1240 UTC on Feb 23, the all-women’s crew were just 15.3 nautical miles behind leaders Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) and apparently gaining on the rest of the fleet who were all within 3.2nm of the Chinese pace setters.

No Time To Rest In Leg 4 Of Volvo Ocean Race 1

(Photo by Stefan Coppers / Team Brunel)

Over the weekend, Team SCA had been more than 60nm further adrift of the main pack.

Race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante warned that the Swedish-backed Team SCA is likely to miss out on gathering winds and is in danger of falling back again with Dongfeng Race Team the most ideally placed at the eastern edge of the fleet.

No Time To Rest In Leg 4 Of Volvo Ocean Race 2

(Photo by Francisco Vignale / Mapfre)

Whatever transpires, the 5,264nm leg from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand could not be more intriguingly poised to be one of the most closely contested legs by the entire fleet in the race’s 41-year history.

The fleet had just over 1,350nm to sail before reaching the “City of Sails” on New Zealand’s North Island and is expected to arrive February 27 or 28, according to the latest computer predictions at Race HQ.

No Time To Rest In Leg 4 Of Volvo Ocean Race 3

(Photo by Matt Knighton / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing)

The Chinese team’s comeback from a disjointed mast track – the part which connects the mast to the mainsail – was remarkable in itself after the crew had been in the depths of despair towards the end of last week.

However, Caudrelier’s men have already proved time and again in this edition that they are more than capable of bouncing back from setbacks.

No Time To Rest In Leg 4 Of Volvo Ocean Race 4

(Photo by Sam Greenfield / Dongfeng Race Team)

This is the fourth of nine legs in the nine-month, 38,739nm marathon. Dongfeng Race Team had a one-point advantage over Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing going into the current leg, having won the previous stage from Abu Dhabi to Sanya last month.