Blair Tuke / MAPFRE

gender Male
Saying goodbye on shore in a cafe/breakfast tent setting. Abby hugs someone. Bouwe: We're going sailing! Going to the Hague, going home. Parade. Nina, hand in lens: No photo, no photo. Capey on the dock: Time to go. Sam: How great is this part? Capey: This is bad. This is boring. It's dull, isn't it. Hanging around, waiting for the big event. I'd rather get into it. On the dock, Peter and Carlo are talking with Blair Tuke. Peter: I'm dying, I need to get off. Bouwe comes up and shakes hands with Blair. Capey comments on Dongfeng's dockout. Bouwe has to make a big step onto the boat. Peter steps aboard. Dockout. Kyle, below: Five years ago we had a great comeback in the America's Cup. Unfortunately we weren't able to repeat that in Bermuda a year ago this weekend. But we're hoping to achieve a similar thing in the Volvo Ocean Race. Back in Auckland five months ago we were in second-to-last place, since then we've worked very hard. We've had a lot of fun with it, hope to keep the ball rolling, be on top of the podium when we get to the Hague. Nina, looking at MAPFRE motoring out ahead of them: I know that we're gonna beat 'em. Capey: Good people, nice boat, same as ours. So we have to outsail them. Bouwe on the helm: I've sailed around the world two times with them. They're good friends, so it will be nice to beat them. Sam to Carlo: Do you have some nerves today? Carlo: I have a little bit of nerves, yeah. But that's every leg start, really. Usually have nerves for an hour before the start, and then takes about two hours before that's gone. Sam: When you see the red boats what do you think? Carlo: I think good luck, but you're gonna be behind us. Hope you have a good leg as well, just not better than us.Blair on the stern: Well it's certainly a battle. Brunel on the bow; leading the whole fleet in the 2-sail reaching stuff. Now we both have the J0's on and hopefully claw back a bit, and there's a change of sail and a masthead zero as we make our way into the channel so hopefully that's an opportunity for us. We had to win this leg. If we win this leg and Dongfeng's behind it goes a long way toward us winning this race. We're giving eveyrthing we have to pass these guys. If we don't it's going to be a tie between us and them, and a heck of a last leg. What a crazy leg so far. Good wave right here, real good wave. Here we go... 28. 29. Still 29. Shots of them sailing fast. Pablo on the helm.Sophie, below: Well, we've been fighting it out with Brunel. The last couple of hours they've been catching us. They're just faster. We've been trying everything we can. Sea state is pretty rough. Making it hard to go fast. They've actually overtaken us now, which is a shame, but we're right on their tail and trying to keep up. In about 60 miles we'll be at the bottom of Norway, and hopefully we'll be putting up the J0 (prouncing it "Joe") and bearing away a little, or getting lifted. And hopefully they don't get too far away from us, and it's not over till it's over. We all realize it's the second to last leg of the whole entire race, there's no point in sleeping. Might as well put in everything we've got to the finish line. Everything's putting everything they've got to get to the finish line in Gothenburg. Shots of Brunel passing them to weather. Looks like they're triple-reefed with J2/J3. MAPFRE crew in the cockpit. Slomo Xabi looking sad. Pablo on the helm, likewise sad. Blair: Sad. Shot of Brunel ahead of htem. Blair looking pissed, blinking the spray from his eyes.Pablo, below, talks in Spanish. He repeats in English. Just rounded the north point of Scotland. Two hours quite intense, sail changes and wind shifts. Still have Brunel and Dongfeng at 4 or 5 miles. Happy, because there's more compression and we still have them Brunel is the one who has cut the distance; now within 1 mile of Dongfeng. We need to win this leg. If we win this leg we will be leading again, and will put some points between Brunel and us, with Dongfeng on equal points. Sailing the boat is very hard. 24 hours to Sweden, and probably won't sleep very much. Slomo of Sophie bundled up in the cockpit. Slomo of Blair in a neoprene cowl. Compass. Tamara trimming. Blair on the foredeck. Willy with a halhard.Blair, below: So Pablo and I have just come down off our night watch. Probably only got about 2 hours of darkness. A good watch for us. Since getting out of the ridge and gybing to starboard the breeze has been building. Being forward and to leeward we've made some pretty good gains. Dongfeng, Brunel... Washing machine in the cockpit. Stern cam, spreader cam, bow cam.Sophie by the daggerboard. Last several hours in no wind, but have some breeze now; VMG downwind. Looked like other boats to weather were going to go around them. But have the pressure now, and look pretty even. Hopefully will gybe in a good position soon. (Her throat sounds scratchy.) Two other boats on distant horizon. Blair rigs for gybing. Sophie also rigs. Willy and Sophie rig for a sail change (J3 hoist?). Rob on helm with another boat 2 miles astern. Xabi and Joan talk in the cockpit.Xabi, on the bow, talks in Spanish. He repeats in English: Tricky night, quite busy, sailing upwind in 12-16 knots with the J1. A few tacks, some big shifts with clouds. Ended up positioning themselves as the most north of the fleet. Pretty happy where they are. But still have to pass a small high pressure ridge. First one going out is going to stretch a lot. Hopefully the investment we've made in the northwest will work out. Have to see what happens. Neti, lying on the bow, talks in Spanish. He repeats in English: Whole fleet is in a line. Waiting for the wind from the southwest. We are very nervous, as you can see. Xabi in the cockpit. Blair. Talking about Dongfeng. AkzoNobel three-quarters of a mile away. Joan in the cockpit. Crew lying down on the foredeck. Tamara resting. Joan sleeping. Crew sleeping in the bow.Willy talks in Spanish on the bow as they sail in light conditions. He repeats in English: 24 hours after the start, pretty much in the same spot they were at the start. Together with Dongfeng and Brunel. Three or four days to go. Forecast is to start going upwind. Probably the Volvo decided in the next 10 hours. Because after that the wind comes and it's harder to pass people. Drone shots: stacking aft, sailing with competitors in the background, rounding Irish headland, Blair aloft with Ireland behind him. Other boats all around them. Slomo of Xabi. Brunel and Dongfeng. AkzoNobel, TTToP, Vestas. Rob on the bow talks to Joan about strategy. Joan reads off his tablet about Dongfeng's status. Three other boats and Fastnet Rock. Dongfeng and Vestas behind them. Sophie calls to Rob: There's seaweed everywhere. Rob: Tricky race so far. Gave Dongfeng a 5-mile lead at Fastnet. Tricky transition. Akzo and Vestas coming from behind.... I don't know what we did wrong, but it was all very difficult. Now beating up west side of Ireland, around islands. Evening's been good so far, but it's going to be a long night. Last tacking exhange overtook Brunel; they're about 3/4 of a mile behind them, Dongfeng 3/4 of a mile ahead, and then Vestas ahead of them. Busy night with lots of tacks. Got some sleep on the first night. No one's resting today or tonight. Going to have to keep pushing hard. Keep the coffee coming and we'll see how we feel in two days time. Slomo of Xabi grinding. Stacking. Slomo spray on the bow. Tack. Irish coast. Xabi looking through binoculars: Yes, he has tacked. Drone shot of them sailing upwind with Dongfeng a quarter mile ahead. Beautiful drone shots with clouds and land, other boats.Rob: Talks about transitions in the leg. Compressions. First boat in slows down and the others catch up. It varies. Sophie sits silent behind him. Rob expects they'll see more compressions, tidal compressions, in the Bristol Channel. Blair: about 24 hours out of Cardiff now. We're in pretty big trouble. We're in fifth place at the moment. Vestas is 30 or 40 miles ahead of us, and the others further than that. Looks like there won't be a complete compression. We'll keep going, but not on that good a shift at the moment. Sailed a few too many miles. We'll keep going; never give up. But not great at the moment. Pablo says something in Spanish; Blair steers behind him. Tamara looks serious. Sophie on the bowsprit hooks up a new sail. Looks like they're peeling J0 -> MH0.Crash cam from the stern as MAPFRE surfs in big wind. Suddenly Blair, on the helm, points forward: "Whale! Big whale!" Neti jumps up to look, and they pass the whale, which surfaces a half a boatlength to starboard as they surf past. Someone (sounds like Tamara) shouts a greeting to it. Ridiculous!Pablo, on the stern, talks in Spanish about the current situation with the northern and southern boats. He repeats in English: Last few days quite intense. Some boats went south and some went north, and now we're converging. In the last few scheds we gained quite a few miles. Hope that continues. In one day and a half we'll converge completely, hopefully in front, but even behind as long as we're close and can keep fighting. Blair, trimming the main: Heading toward the ice gate. Dongfeng 30 miles ahead of them. Did well against them in the last sched. And that pack that rode the front a day longer than we did. We've done well against them for the past few scheds; now they've got the breeze. So... play on. Sophie on the pedestal in her cold-weather gear. Sailing fast. Slomo washing machine. Joan, at the nav statio, reads a sched in Spanish. Stern cam and spreader cam views of them sailing fast with a double-reefed (triple-reefed?) main. Spreader cam view of the foredeck.Xabi summarizes the first 2 days of the leg in Spanish. Discusses the complicated conditions, the relative positions of the northern and southern groups. Tamara, on the bow as they flop, talks in Spanish. Xabi repeats his summary in English. First time they've seen such a big split in the race. Very slow for them and Dongfeng and TTToP. The fleet in the south always kept in front of the front. They have a lot of work to do now to get to the north. They look quite strong. We need to wait and see. Tamara repeats her comments in English: In a transition. Hard to wait for the wind. Hope they'll be sailing fast soon. Xabi trims. Sophie and Blair grind. Stacking forward. Flopping. Xabi rubs his head. Instruments show them doing 3 knots. Drone shot of them floopping from above the masthead, then low and alongside in very flat water.Neti, on the aft pedestal, talks in Spanish. Blair: Sailed well through the night. Dongfeng pulled away from us in the reaching conditions. Just got the sched, Dongfeng is 30 miles away. Rest of the fleet didn't come with us. Massive split. It's a little bit of a worry that Brunel has got separation from us. Because we did well we got further to leeward, and got out of the breeze and gybed. Just one of those things; you've gotta sail the wind you've got. Joan at the nav station, talking to Xabi about when to gybe. Pablo sleeping sitting up. Gybe on deck with Neti and Willy grinding. Stacking. Joan and Rob talking. Rob on the helm. Slomo washing machine. Drone shots of surfing with clouds. Super low-altitude drone shot from just in front of the bow.Xabi, at the helm motoring out, talks in Spanish. Sophie: Super nice to be back on board. Not fun sitting on the sidelines. Gonna be pretty windy, and that's exciting. And we all realize how well it is to do well on this leg. Rob: This is probably the most important leg of the race for a lot of teams. So we'll be giving it everything. First time to the UK since 2005, which was his first race. Looking forward to arriving; hope they arrive in daylight. Slomo parade with wacky slowed-down audio. Xabi says goodbye to young boy, who puts his hands over the lens. Spectator boat with MAPFRE on the side waves and blows horns. Sailing upwind with Dongfeng to leeward. Slomo of Tamara tailing. Dongfeng on their weather quarter with the A3 up. More slomo grinding. Brunel crossing astern on a downwind leg. Sailing past the bridge. Slomo behind AkzoNobel heading into fog as someone (Blair?) gets doused on the bow. Dongfeng on their hip as they reach in the fog.Rob, below, talks about how they've been holding off AkzoNobel for the last day. They're to weather of them. Won't really know for 24 hours until they gybe. The scheds have been bouncing around a lot. 5, 10 miles gained and lost. They've generally done well on the guys ahead. 1000 miles to go and we're sitting in 5th or 6th, but 4th's not that far away. Third's not likely I guess. Front coming in might help. A point's a point. Anything we can salvage will be good. Blair on deck: Beautiful tradewind sailing the last few days, but we've been doing it from 5th or 6th position, trying to catch the guys in front. Keep working. A couple of opportunities ahead. Crossed the outbound track to Capetown. Gonna keep fighting, gonna win this thing. Tamara grinding. Surfing. Blair grinding in slomo. Tamara, on the aft pedestal, turns away from the spray. Xabi uses a hand-bearing compass to look at a competitor to weather. "82/84 I would say... 7 miles."Rob, below: Got a one-design boat now, so everything's very sensitive. Small changes in trim, daggerboards, can make important differences in speed. Blair, below, talks about the same thing. Rob talks about the smallest thing you can trim is the leech line up to big things like reefing the sail. Willy and Blair are primary trimmers. It's there job to be focused on trim the whole time. Blair talks about it, how in big weather it's big changes, but now it's small changes, small details.Blair: Getting used to sailing on their own. Broke through a cloud line, and had to stick with our line. Got a bad sched; lost 20 miles on the leaders... Every cloud is very different. Haven't done the best job. The ones that screwed us the other night developed on top of us, and we couldn't do anything about it. Certainly not our best friends at the moment, the clouds. Willy talks in Spanish about the comptetition, the weather. Shots of them sailing on starboard. Drone shots of them triple-heading with the MH0 with clouds and rain behind them.Neti talks in Spanish as they sail in 15 knots of wind on starboard tack. He then repeats in English: After a shitty night, they got stuck in bad wind. Have been losing the whole day. Hopefully we can catch up again. It's been a hard day for us. But it's what it is. Lost so many miles in 15 hours. We knew that Turn the Tide on Plastic was well positioned. We didn't expect to lose as much with Dongfeng and Vestas... Have to keep pushing and not give up. Cannot say we are happy with what happened last night. But we push, and we're here for racing. Shot looking forwar as they sail faster than they have been. Blair grimaces into the camera. Joan comes up and gives the latest sched. Willy trimming. Smiles. Joan and Blair at the nav station.Blair, by the stack, talks about how they had a really tough day, with a squally cloud line and lots of tacks. Held onto Brunel, but lost 5 or 6 miles to Dongfeng. And then TTToP and Vestas got through on the other side. But a long way to go... He thinks they're sailing well. Shot of them approaching the oil drilling ship with the flaming flare on the stern. Brunel crossing on starboard a quarter mile behind them. They tack to cover. Shifting the stack. Look at them all max hiking, threaded through the lifelines. Shot of another competitor (Brunel?) to leeward. Light winds. Sail changes. Sunset with Willy grinding.Pablo, in the cockpit, talks in Spanish about the leg so far. Dongfeng a half mile ahead; rest of the fleet behind. He talks in Spanish about what's coming up in the leg. Then he does it all again in English. In theory it's a leg without too many maneuvers. Will be a lot of cloud activity and stalls, lots of peels. Have to keep their focus if they're going to win this leg. Other boats will be close by. Speed of the boat is key in this kind of leg. You want to gain meter by meter. You get a small advantage, and then you can use that to get in the right position with the clouds. Shot of sunset with fleet close behind them. Rob and Tamara stacking on the foredeck. Rob on the helm with other boats behind them. Dongfeng crossing on starboard a half mile ahead of them. Shifting the stack to leeward in preparation for tacking. We see the tack from the cabin, looking aft. Xabi calling jib trim. Blair and Neti on the bow. Lowering the J1.Blair, in the prestart, talks about the upcoming leg. Rob calling tactics at the start. Brunel sailing down on them. Sailing away from the line with the best start. Neti: "Dongfeng is tacking." Grinding. Leading the fleet around the weather mark. Dongfeng right on their stern. Lots of cool sailhandling footage. They're doing a good job without Sophie. Neti: Start was pretty good for us... Now comes the tricky part, which is the leg. (He repeats in Spanish.) Rob recaps the start. Learned their mistakes from the in-port race. "A long port tack now and try to stay in front."Sophie, on deck: My best was for 11:08 pm on the 8th, but I'm totally regretting it now that we have this nice pressure. I think I'm not going to win. Willy, on the wheel, talks in Spanish about his bet. Neti talks about his bet (also in Spanish). Pablo: talks about their arrival in Spanish. Blair: 12 local time on the 8th. I'm looking good... Bit of fun, anyway. Neti is the one that draws it up on the board. Neti talks in Spanish. Blair: Rob's already talking about how there's going to be another buy in. Rob: My times are 2:30-3:30 in the afternoon, local time. And also 9:30 at night. But the ETA's moved forward, so I think my time might be late. I might buy in again; 50 Euros. Xabi, in the wheel, talks in Spanish. We see the whiteboard below with the bets recorded. (I note that Ugo has a bet. Also, Pablo is listed as "PATAN"?)Sophie, on the bow: It is what it is I guess. Boredom has set in. Getting lots of sleep, and eating what bits of food we have... Have to admit the racing vibe on board is kind of relaxed... Just doing what we can to get there. We're all feeling a bit tired of the situation and looking forward to getting in. Instruments. Sophie and Blair lounging on the foredeck. Blair looks at a small notebook.Pablo, by the mast as MAPFRE sails in 6 knots of wind, talks in Spanish. Neti talks in Spanish. Tamara talks in Spanish. Blair, on the foredeck: We've still got 800 miles to go. Brunel is just finishing now. They sailed a very good leg. Hopefully Brunel can hang on (against Dongfeng). Selfish for us, but we want to keep a couple more points away from Dongfeng. Below, Pablo through food bags, and Xabi at the nav station announces that Brunel won. Pablo: "yes, yes." Rob announces it to the cockpit: "Brunel won." Xabi talks in Spanish about the result.Blair, sitting on deck in light winds, talks about how their goal for the rest of this leg is catching TTToP. Talks about high pressure ridge, and they got further away, unfortunately. Sailing upwind. Not good for them. Going to try to analyze and look for an opportunity later on. Sunrise shot. Trimming. Joan looking at the chart. Joan talking with Rob (I think) in the cockpit about their prospects for catching TTToP.Rob steers as MAPFRE reaches with FR0, J2, and J3 but no main. Ñeti, below, talks about the conditions. Blair, below, talks aobut how they've had the main down below since leaving the Horn. Repair is curing and doing a little more hand-stitching. Time to put it up and hopefully it holds together. But it's quite a big repair, so we'll wait and see. Shot of main below. Crew wrestles the sail up. Neti: has been 36 hours since we did the track. Which is good. Shots of Rob at the back of the boom. Hoisting the main. Spreader cam view. Main hoisted. Main flying. Sophie to Neti: Shake my hand. (They shake.) Sophie: Congratulations. Neti: Looks quite good. The track is also good. Looks like the glue is working perfectly. Now we have to be conservative at the beginning. Hopefully we can keep the mainsail in one piece. Don't have much glue. But hopefully it works.Night-vision crash cam view; looks like they stuffed the bow and did a round up. Slomo of two sailors in the cockpit (I think maybe Rob and Sophie?) giving a peace sign and a thumbs up, respectively. Willy and Blair by the mast setting the outrigger in epic surfing conditions. Slomo of surfing. Crew in the cockpit. Wake shot, surfing. Ugo's out in it to get these shots. Good stuff. Blair, below, his breath and steaming body backlit from the companionway.Blair, below, talks about having passed Point Nemo this afternoon. Pretty cool, but mixed emotions because of the issue with the mast track. Have been struggling to keep up with the fleet. Below, Tamara talks in Spanish. In the cockpit, a crewmember holds a sign with distances to Itajai, Auckland, and the International Space Station. Mast cam view forward as they surf and stuff the bow. Drone shot as they sail downwind in lighter conditions (for the Southern Ocean) as a crewmember aloft just below the first spreaders works on the mast track. Favoriting for that epic shot.Blair talks about just going around East Cape. A pretty tough 24 hours. Crash-cam footage of their close cross when they almost collided with Scallywag. Xabi, below, explains what happened: MAPFRE was on port, at first thought they were crossing, but then decided to bear away, and Scallywag was already bearing away. So they got everyone on deck and did two penalty turns. Blair: "Lost quite a lot on that." Then we see more crash cam footage, as they almost lose a sail on the stack where the front of the sail went into the water. To lose that sail would have been a big deal, Blair explains. Then Joan did a great job on routing and they retook the lead. Now heading south in a nice position. Favoriting for the great crash-cam footage.Parade out to the boat. Someone shouting, "¡Vamos! ¡Vamos!" Blair thanks the crowd; tussles a kid's hair. Shakes hands, gives kisses, makes the shaka sign. Blair and Tamara wave as they dock out. Blair and Xabi fist-bump. Lots of fans. Start. Ñeti on the bow gives distance to the line. AFter the start, sailing with the other boats. Rob: "Bit of a righty here." They call to Dongfeng: "You tack!" They tack. Close duck by TTToP, Vestas. Grinding. Comig into the leeward mark. Dongfeng close astern. Slomo of Ñeti on the bow. Blair fiddling with the clew. Sophie and Tamara stacking the J3.Parade out to the boat. Someone shouting, "¡Vamos! ¡Vamos!" Blair thanks the crowd; tussles a kid's hair. Shakes hands, gives kisses, makes the shaka sign. Blair and Tamara wave as they dock out. Blair and Xabi fist-bump. Lots of fans. Start. Ñeti on the bow gives distance to the line. AFter the start, sailing with the other boats. Rob: "Bit of a righty here." They call to Dongfeng: "You tack!" They tack. Close duck by TTToP, Vestas. Grinding. Comig into the leeward mark. Dongfeng close astern. Slomo of Ñeti on the bow. Blair fiddling with the clew. Sophie and Tamara stacking the J3.Drone shots of sunrise (?) with islands in the distance. A competitor is 3 miles ahead of them. High drone shot of islands. Blair: Awesome seeing the Three Kings in the morning. Pretty surreal sailing down the coast now. Flyby by a helicopter, a fishing boat. A plane flies overhead doing acrobatics. A boat comes alongside. Another boat comes alongside with MAPFRE flags flying. Xabi: So hard to overtake Dongfeng. Pablo: Only 150 miles to go; we have them less than a mile in front. Xabi: Catching them a little bit. New Zealand flag on the backstay. Sophie going aloft. Dongfeng to leeward. Blair spots TTToP through the binoculars. Willy talks about compression being expected. Chance to pass them, but it's remote. Joan: Seeing the race leaders in front. Light air for a bit. Just saw AkzoNobel was winning the race; on the AIS only 7 miles. Willy: Last 100 miles you're all on deck. Xabi looks through binoculars. Xabi trimming. Rob on the helm. Alongside Dongfeng a few boatlengths away. Dongfeng astern. Other boats ahead of them and inside. Dongfeng close behind in the sunset. Sophie rigging the J2 for hoisting. Triple heading. Dongfeng close behind them. Sophie: This was our first good opportunity to get past them. Have had 80% of the race at the back of the fleet. The vibe on the boat hasn't been good. Being back up now, gaining these miles, and can see Akzo over there; it's really exciting. Not giving up, fighting to the end.Blair, on deck, talks about New Zealand's amazing history with the race, especially back in the Whitbread days. Means a lot for a Kiwi sailing into Auckland. Not the position they'd like, but still special. Louis talks about growing up watching documentaries about Grant Dalton and Peter Blake, so it means a lot to be part of it.Tamara, in the galley, talks in Spanish about food preparation. Closeup of the burner. Food prep. Sophie: "Twenty days of freeze-dried food is not very nice." Blair: it keeps up the energy. Sophie: Getting pretty hard to eat. Willy: Talks in Spanish about the food. Tamara talks in Spanish about the food. Beef hot pot. Chicken marsala, topped off with some chicken and noodles. They all talk about wanting fresh food when they arrive. Fruit and veggies.Blair asleep. Rob wakes him up. Blair getting up. "Time to go to work." Gets dressed. Puts on sunscreen. Should be straightforward; now they're in the tradewinds. Might need to change to a smaller sail. Can't put too much sunblock on. Do a little grinding, cruising to check front sail trim, trimming, and driving the last hour. Final touch: some zinc. He rummages. "Looking for that for about 10 minutes; it was sitting right there." On deck, grinding. wrestling sails on the foredeck. As he's trimming, he talks about liking all the jobs on deck. Gives a thumbs up. Tradewind sailing's nice, but once you get over the wet and the cold, Southern Ocean is the best. Talks about his good luck charm that he had at the Olympics and the America's Cup. Thought he'd bring it around the world with him. Below, eating, he talks about it having been a good watch. He talks with Joan at the nav station while eating.Everyone answers the question: What is MAPFRE's secret weapon? Tamara: Answers in Spanish. Willy: Answer's in Spanish. Louis: Xabi. Xabi is the secret weapon. Blair: Willy. Willy: (With Dongfeng behind him as he trims): Answers in Spanish. Pablo: Answers in Spanish. Rob: Our optimism. We're all very hopeful. Tamara: Talks in Spanish. Rob: Coffee, and looking forward to your next sleep. Willy: In Spanish. Xabi: In Spanish. Pablo: In Spanish. Xabi: In Spanish. Sophie: Talks about how the fact that you're racing keeps you going despite the fatigue. Joan: Talks in Spanish. Blair: Staying positive; trying to keep the boat going as fast as you can.Below, Willy talks in Spanish about the fleet, compression, competition. Blair, on deck in the sunset, talks about how the last sched wasn't very good for them. Not stoked to be in this position. Just trying to make our way toward the bottom of the Solomons as quickly as they can. Nice seeing another boat (Dongfeng); helps them push harder. Dongfeng a mile away. Drone shot with Dongfeng in the distance. Drone shot of Sophie working on the bowsprit.Blaire, below, explains that they're in the northeast trades, and are dueling with Dongfeng. AkzoNobel and Scallywag down to leeward. Hoping next transition works in their favor. Knew this race was going to have a lot of transitions and compressions. Guys who went a different route managed to get in front, but there's at least two more transitions to come. Dongfeng is very equal in pace. Slomo washing machine shots from the companionway, cockpit, stern. Rob on the helm taking spray. Tamara trimming. Stern cam, mast cam, spreader cam footage of MAPFRE sailing fast on port.Xabi, below, talks in Spanish about strategy. Blair, below, talks about it being full-on going fast in the strong wind and big sea state. Talks about the competition. Dongfeng behind them, Brunel to leeward. Going well speed-wise against those guys. No wind in 12 hours. Night vision shots of the cockpit. Stern cam shots of rough conditions, washing machine. Spreader cam. Cockpit washing machine shots. Slomo of Támara getting doused while trimming. Slomo washing machine. Sailing fast in strong winds.A little skit. Louis, on deck: Are you sure we're headed for Auckland? Pablo, on the helm: We cannot be wrong. [Points over his shoulder.] They're following us. [We see Brunel and Dongfeng sailing behind them.] Blair (pointing): "Pablo, I'm pretty sure New Zealand is that way. Southeast. It's my home mate, I know." Pablo [spinning the wheel briefly to starboard], "Okay; I take you home." Blair (in the background): "I'm joking."Blair, on deck, talks about the start. Not the best start for them. Fourth now. Start not a huge priority in these conditions. Rough stuff in the next couple of hours. "Feels like back home now; back on the boat. So it's all good." Támara talks on deck in Spanish as they sail to weather under the J1. Looks like Scallywag is a quarter mile haed of them; I'm guessing that's Brunel beyond them. Then we go back in time and see the prestart, and the immediate start aftermath. Grinding, tacking out of Victoria Harbor. Close cross of Brunel behind them. Big duck of them to go astern of Dongfeng. Xabi trimming. Pablo on the helm. Rob calls for the hoist of the J1; we see it going up, then the furled MH0 coming down. Scallywag and Brunel sailing ahead of them and below, to starboard.Below, Joan explains that they have just passed the Phillippines, and have about 370 miles to go to the finish. Tricky, because there's a lot of traffic (oh yeah) and they don't always have lights. Sophie on deck: "The most enjoyable part of this leg for me was the start. Was sad to leave home, but it was really cool to go down the bay, and then turn left and go down the coast where I grew up surfing." Willy talks in Spanish. Louis: "There hasn't been a best part of the leg, man. THIS is the best part of the leg, because we're a day from the dock." Támara talks, laughing, in Spanish. Blair talks about the tradewind sailing, that being the highlight. Louis: "The worst part of the leg was when we came out of the doldrums and pretty much were dropped by the entire fleet." Willy talks in Spanish. Sophie: "Some of those days in the doldrums. They were pretty tough." Blair talks about the doldrums. Támara talks in Spanish. Sunset. Gybing with land behind them. Rob, on the helm, smiles. Islands. Drone shots of them sailing past islands.On deck, Pablo talks in Spanish about the remainder of the leg, the other boats. Below, Blair and Joan eat. Shot of the bow as they triple-head on port gybe. Blair trims. Drone shot from astern, from alongside, circling the boat with the sunrise behind them, from above.Blair in the cockpit, and then grinding for Sophie, talks about sailing through the Caroline Islands, the competition, needing to make gains on the boats in front. Going to be tough to catch them. Looking forward to another sched. Talks about where the other boats are. Rob, on the mainsheet on the stern, talks about the other boats. He's happy about Scallywag because his sister is navigating for them, and also because they'd rather the bonus point for the leg go to Scallywag rather than to anyone else. Blair, holding a tablet by the helm, goes over the latest sched with Pablo, who's steering. Slomo washing machine shots of Xabi, Pablo. Night shots from the bowcam of someone working on the foredeck, then of the cockpit. Washing machine shots of Blair on the helm. Drone shots of MAPFRE triple-heading in 20 knots of wind.Crash cam / stern cam footage of Pablo, trimming, slipping from the high side of the cockpit all the way to the winch on the leeward side. Amusingly, he gathers in the sheet he's trimming over his head the whole way, so it never actually slips on the winch. We see the same fall from the perspective of Ugo's hand-held camera in the companionway, and then zoom in on someone (Xabi?) giving a thumbs up from the mainsheet near the helm and calling out, "Trim on!" Blair puts sunscreen on in the cockpit, his sunglasses pushed up on his forehead as water cascades over the deck. "Plenty of mayonnaise" (?). "Fuck it feels good to be boosting again! Later, doldrums!" A wave comes over and douses him, knocking his sunglasses off his head. He scampers to the stern to retrieve them before they can wash out the open cockpit. Shot of Sophie climbing out on the outrigger to tighten the J0 leech cord. Slomo of her working her way back through the cockpit in the washing machine. Támara gets spray in the face. Someone (Louis?) goes up the mast to the masthead with a GoPro camera (which I now know, due to The Boat Feed, is actually a Garmin, but I'm going to keep calling it GoPro here for consistency).Rob, on the wheel, sails in about 10 knots of wind on starboard gybe. "It's been difficult. It's certainly been the hardest doldrums crossing I've ever been involved with." Blair talks about 4 or 5 days since the Solomons. "Not much fun at all." Támara talks in Spanish. Sophie talks about how frustrating it has been, how long it has been. Blair doesn't want to say they're out, because that's come back to bite them before. Rob talks about the 3 boats to the east popping out into the tradewinds and making big gains. Blair reads the sched from a tablet. Shakes his head. "Don't look at that anymore." Pablo talks about the competition in Spanish. Xabi: "It's quite painful to be where we are. Especially when a few days ago we were within a mile of the leaders." Have to fight hard now to get back into position. Pablo talks some more about the competition in Spanish. Sophie and Willy grinding; Sophie on the foredeck as they hoist an inside headsail with a rainbow in front of them. Drone shots of them triple-heading in front of the sunset.Joan, in the cockpit, talks in Spanish as MAPFRE flops with no wind under cloudy skies. Rain; slomo of Sophie, Joan, Xabi grinding in the rain. Sophie and Támara on the bow in the rain. Moving fast in the squall, and... becalmed again. Crew looks for wind; Xabi discusses it. Blair hauls the clew aft.Standing in the galley, Joan talks in Spanish. On the helm, Pablo talks in Spanish. I'm picking up "hot" and "tired". Louis, below, shirtless and sweating: "It's really hot at the moment. It's very difficult to sleep." He shows the spritzer and spritzes himself with water. Támara, lying down in the bow, talks in Spanish and laughs. Sophie looks down through the hatch, talks about shade being important. Blaire, trimming, talks about heat and sun protection. Below, in the galley, he talks about the fresh water being warm, and the fact that the watermaker is getting much more of a workout than in the Southern Ocean. On the foredeck, Támara talks in Spanish, I think about her drinking water being hot. She and Blair construct a sun shade from the stack and an outrigger. On the helm, Pablo talks in Spanish. Blair puts on sunscreen. Below, Louis spritzes himself. Late in the afternoon, they get some wind and start moving. Everyone is looking to starboard. The view shifts in that direction, and we see why: AkzoNobel, less than a mile away to leeward and slightly ahead; behind them, two more boats: I think Vestas to the left and Dongfeng to the right. Night shot with AkzoNobel just a boatlength or two behind them.Sophie, invisible in the dark, talks about how it's been painful. Not a lot of wind, Dongfeng is a long way ahead and AkzoNobel has passed them... Quite frustrating. Xabi's voice, announcing AkzoNobel's position. Crew stacking forward on the bow in red headlamps. Views of stars, sounds of slow sailing. In the dawn, Blair holds the clew of the J1 as they flop. Talks in detail about how frustrating it is, how a big cloud came through and compressed the fleet. They went from furthest north boat and the fleet compressed and sailed around them. Daybreak now; it's fully glassed. AkzoNobel was most frustrating; went from 2 miles behind them before the cloud to 6 miles in front, sailing a half-mile to leeward of them. Willy, sitting on the lowered J1 on the bow, talks in Spanish about the wind and the competition. Blair on the helm. Sunrise. Glassy conditions. Rob on the helm. Joan looking around. Willy and Blair sit under the clew of the MH0, talking.Sophie, on the aft pedestal, summarizes where they stand. Have gained back on the two lead boats, AkzoNobel and Dongfeng. Blair, trimming, talks about how they caught sight of the other two boats that morning sooner than they expected; MAPFRE got some good pressure and the other two boats got stuck a little too low, such that "Vestas and us caught them a little bit." Now into tradewind sailing. Now they're in the same wind so it's all down to boatspeed. Maybe there will be more clouds at night that allows for bigger gains and losses. Sophie: "I think we're all pretty excited to be back at the front of the fleet." Willy stands at the shrouds looking up at the sails. Shot of Dongfeng ahead of them. Támara looking forward. Sunset. A bird (a Brown Booby, I think) flies above the masthead. Pole shots of the rudder, the wake.Pablo, sitting ahead of the wheel as MAPFRE reaches on starboard, talks in Spanish about the competition. Rob, on the wheel: There's a split in the fleet, and you had to decide inshore or offshore. A bit of current offshore, but also better breeze. "We lost out bigtime, actually. The two leaders are far ahead." Talks about moving past Vestas and TTToP, and gaining some miles on the leaders. Willy, on the middle pedestal, talks about how of course it's good to gain miles on the leaders, but it's a long race, and you need to realize that the bungee stretches and comes back. "Winning more than losing. Still a long time to go." Pablo talks in Spanish. Shots at night: moonlight, full moon past clew of the sail, ratcheting the stack. In the sunrise, Blair and Xabi laugh about something on the aft pedestal. Wake shot of sunrise. Closeups: The wheel, Támara's face, Willy grinding. Slomo shots of Vestas to port and behind, and then astern of them. Louis works the outrigger, then gets hoisted out to the clew of the A3 to do something with the sheets.MAPFRE is sailing fast on starboard gybe, triple-heading. On the aft pedestal, Támara talks in Spanish. Willy talks in Spanish. Támara talks more in Spanish. Blair talks with the coastline visible behind him: "VMG'd all night. All day today. Quite a few gybes actually. Very reminiscent of the ice gate, but slightly warmer here. Right by the coast." He talks about how the fleet has compressed. AkzoNobel caught up and passed everyone. They just passed Vestas. Shot of Vestas (I think?) inside them. Shot of AzkoNobel behind and to weather of them. Vestas crossing in front of them on starboard gybe, land visible behind them, while MAPFRE sails on port gybe. Shot from the cockpit as they gybe from starboard to port. Another gybe from the cockpit, this time from port to starboard. Closeups of grinding, winches. Pretty drone shot with MAPFRE on starboard gybe in the foreground, competitor (Vestas?) silhouetted by the low sun ahead of them.Below, Xabi talks about how they kept pushing hard. On deck, Xabi and Louis grnd on the pedestal. Xabi is REALLY pushing it; that's a lead-by-example leader there, methinks. Sophie grinding the starboard secondary winch. That's where that lined-face still photo of her that was making the rounds on SA came from, I think. Blair, below, recaps the last 36 hours, different winds, getting a 30-40 mile lead on Dongfeng. Them going into stealth mode, which made them have to push the boat the whole time. It was fun. 30 knots, massive waves. Trying not to break the boat. Stern cam / crash cam of the two grinders (Louis and Blair) being blown off the aft pedestal. Xabi, below, talks in Spanish. Washing machine shots. Támara grinding a pit winch. Xabi, below, recaps in English: Conditions tough for the past week. Last night very squally. A few broaches. 38-40 knots. "I think we did very well. We kept the boat in one piece, and everyone safe."Crash cam / stern cam footage as MAPFRE surfs on port gybe with reefed main. Louis and Blair (I think? going by bits of name in Louis' case and bits of '77' visible on his back in Blair's case) are on the aft pedestal; a big wave wipes them BOTH off the pedestal.MAPFRE is sailing downwind on port gybe. Pablo is steering, Louis is grinding, Blair is trimming. Blair squints into the sun. "Where are they?" Shot of Dongfeng crossing on starboard a few hundred yards astern of them. [Note: This might be a different time than the squinting; it's no overcast.] Blair talks to Jen about how this morning earlier they'd gone below after a gybe and heard them easing the sheets, poked his head up and say MAPFRE cross about 5 meters behind Dongfeng. Talks about giving a "cheeky wave." "Since then there's been 3 or 4 crosses, and they're about a mile ahead now." Slomo washing machine.Wake shot as MAPFRE sails fast with the sun setting behind them. Blair, below in a red light, talks about how it's hard to know when the day started; 12, 24, 36 hours. Gybing every hour if you're on watch; if you're off-watch trying to get down below and get a quick bite to eat, get in your bunk as quick as you can. Louis prepares something to eat in the galley in the light of his headlamp. "Managed to make some pretty good gains on Dongfeng so we're pushing hard." Pablo, standing near the hatch: "Two hours" (until the next gybe). Blair: "Two hours? That can't be right. It's too long!" Támara laughs. Louis asks Jen what's in the food bin behind her. Jen: "Pasta bolognese." Blair hands it out. Later, Jen asks Pablo how he's feeling. "We have just started so at the moment not too bad. We are wet, tired and hungry, all of us. The good thing is it is not that cold anymore. Doing all these aneavers we are quite warm. But there's 18 hours to go, so this is nothing." Talks about hwo it's important to do all these maneuvers to stay close to Dongfeng along the ice limit. Talks about how it's helpful that they're so close by so they can see if they're gaining or losing. Birds astern. Blair talks about getting back in his gear; Willy kids him. Pablo, below, talks about watches. We see footage on deck of a gybe while his audio continues. Have to keep the clothes on because the maneuvers are so frequent. On deck, Xabi talks to Jen with the sunrise behind him: "We've got 20 more of those coming, today and tomorrow. So that's good. Plenty of power here."Below, on port gybe, Pablo gets dressed in his bunk above the nav station. Kyle stands in the galley eating something. Pablo explains the importance of getting the boots and pants just right so they don't get wet. Because once it gets wet it's wet. A little break is enough. He then explains the same thing in Spanish.MAPFRE is sailing fast on starboard gybe in high wind. Blair approaches. Louis, trimming the main, asks: "You gonna drive?" Blair: "Yeah." Blair takes the helm (can't see from whom). Epic footage of them surfing. Louis, to Jen: "Wild ride, huh?" Jen: "Yeah." Louis explains how they've gybed, and the waves are up, and it's "nicer to keep it at a consistent 23 [boatspeed]". He mentions they had a broach before. We see the crashcam footage from the earlier video of them broaching. Louis: seems to be enjoying himself, talks about enjoying the sailing. washing machine. Someone (can't see who) has their life jacket inflate from the wave. They laugh.Crash cam footage from the stern camera as MAPFRE rounds up to starboard in very strong winds. We see Louis run forward to ease the jib, then Blair comes forward and shelters in the weather side of the pit area. Rob (I think? by voice?) on the helm calls, "Okay! I got it!" as they start to come down, and Blair moves to the pedestal to grind the jib back in. (I think.)Blair grinds the middle pedestal. Sophie on the mainsheet: "Hold." Xabi talks to her; they both grind. Xabi, to Jen: "It's all going pretty well." Talks about other boats around them: Dongfeng, Vestas, AkzoNobel, Brunel. "Tricky wind; up and down and very shifty." Gybing early morning. Pablo talks in the cockpit about the routing. "Maybe we do... 50 knots?" Sophie: "Fifty? Oh.. my... god.." Xabi on the helm: "We won't do 50." Pablo: "Right now the routing says that." Sophie: "And that's... 20 knots?" Xabi: "Yeah." Xabi, to Jen: "It's looking like real windy, next days... In a couple of days, 40 plus for a couple of hours." Talks about the ice gate. So get rest and food now, for later. Jen: "Any advice for me?" Xabi, smiling: "For you? It's gooa be good. It's gonna be rough (shrugs) and cold. Good fun." Sophie and Pablo convo continues, about how long it's going to be: up to 6 days. Sophie, to Jen, talks about making sure she's organized, has the right gear on, try to rest as much as she can tonight. "Just take it as it comes." Jen: "Any advice for me." Sophie laughs. Blair, from the pedestal: "Hold on." Sophie: "Hold on, Jen. Stay down below if you want to." Blair: "Have a nice stay in your bunk. That's what I'd do if I could." Shot of AkzoNobel on their starboard quarter.Xabi, below, talks in Spanish about the competition. Joan, below, talks in Spanish. In the cockpit, Blair lies on his back to turn the middle pedestal handles with his feet, Team New Zealand AC-style. Ñeti does it too. Drone shot from close to the bow of the J1 being hoisted, then of crew clearing the old sail, then drone shots from low altitutde, coming really close to getting dunked by a wave, on the starboard quarter as MAPFRE reaches on starboard, then a drone shot pulling away to higher altitude.Below, Blair talks about being in the lead but it being tense. Brunel in stealth mode. "Somewhere behind us, we hope." Pablo, below, talks in Spanish about the situation with the competition. Shot from the cabin as Blair brushes his teeth in the hatch; spray on deck as Ñeti and Támara grind. Nav station. Washing machine shots on deck as MAPFRE sails fast on port gybe with Xabi on the helm.In the cockpit, Sophie works on the disassembled mainsheet winch drum. Sophie: "It's like winch school at SCA. When I was on SCA I learned quite a lot about winches." Ñeti talks about the hydrogenerator. Pablo talks in Spanish. Closeup of the hydrogenerator. Blair, on the helm, talks about Rio, and about winning the gold medal at the Olympics. Blair: "It's an awesome city and I have very fond memories of it."Pablo, on the middle pedestal, grinds as he talks about the competition, about how when you're close you have to keep pushing or you will lose out to the other boats. Rob, on the helm, talks about how conditions are always changing. Blair, on the aft pedestal with his equator-crossing reverse mohawk, talks about the constant trimming. Blair, gesturing to their port quarter and then to their starboard bow: "So far we're doing all right, but we're very close to Brunel here behind us and Dongfeng down here." Xabi and Sophie in the cockpit. Robs talks about how they're on a drag race south with no tacks or gybes. Rob: "Obviously we're always pushing hard." He talks about how this will not decide the race, that it will probably be decided in the south Atlantic. Slomo shots of Támara trimming, Rob on the helm, Xabi looking forward.Sunrise. Sophie, sitting aft in the cockpit, summarizes their situation. Dongfeng is 6 miles ahead, and they seem to be stretching out on the fleet behind a little bit. Wind is moving aft; currently true wind angle is 110 degrees. Closeup of a hand-bearing compass dangling from the binnacle railing. Sophie trims the mainsheet. Closeup of the mainsheet winch drum. Blair, on the low side, eases a headsail sheet. Distant shot of Dongfeng ahead of them. Winch closeup. A group of three in the cockpit: Ñeti on the mainsheet, Rob on the helm, Joan looking to weather. Joan: "It might get lighter initially under the cloud, and then there might be a little push." Rob steers and trims main; Támara grinds. Ñeti, on the foredeck, helps hoist a sail (maybe the MH0?). Pablo grinds in the cockpit, grimacing.Ugo talks vlog-style in Spanish. Rob emerges as King Neptune, performs the ceremony. Tamara cuts her pigtails. Blair and Ugo get reverse mohawks.We see a whiteboard (?) below with what looks like a child's drawing of a birthday cake, a person at a steering wheel, and "Happy Birthday Patan!" Blair emerges from the cabin with what look like three chocolate suckers. They sing Happy Birthday to Pablo, who is on the helm. Xabi (referring to the chocolate): "To share." Pablo takes a bit of the chocolate, drops a piece, and scrambles for it while Blair holds the wheel for him. Below, at the nav station, Pablo watches videos of what sounds like birthday well-wishers. Pablo talks in Spanish.It's afternoon, with MAPFRE heading south on port gybe in about 10 knots of wind. Ñeti, at the middle grinder handles, talks in Spanish. Pablo pops into view and says something in Spanish. Sophie, at the shrouds: "It's a little bit frustrating, because it looks like they have a little more pressure, and we're trying to catch them. I think when you have another boat in sight, especially in front of you, the whole boat is working as hard as they can. It give syou something to push for. We just changed sails [to the A3, visible behind her]." Ñeti talks more in Spanish. Shot of crew shifting the stack. Sophie on the foredeck helping to hoist the A3. Crew in the cockpit grinding. Ñeti, on a halyard, goes out to the clew of the A3. Wide (pretty) drone shot of MAPFRE in the sunset. Blair, on the helm as MAPFRE sails on starboard gybe in the morning: "The last 24 hours on average for us have been a little bit bad; we've lost a lot on Dongfeng, Vestas, and AkzoNobel, but in the last hours of the night or very early morning we've gained on them very quickly and have them right here." [gestures to the port quarter] Pablo talks in Spanish about the competition. Shot of crew working in the cockpit; shot of AkzoNobel, slomo telephoto shot of AkzoNobel.Pablo, below in his foulies, still wet from coming off the deck: "The crew is performing very good. We are all very happy. We are figthing hard, because the beginning of the leg is very important." Blair, below, in progress on getting out of his foulies with sunscreen on his face: "It was cetainly a pretty fast start. Wind's a little lighter now. Managed to get some sleep. Lots of gybing. Everyone's a little bit tired but not too bad." Pablo: "This morning we were leading, we were in front of the boats, probably a little furthe south than them. Then we had to gybe... Dongfeng crossed our bow. Now we are getting to Madeira." Slomo shots on deck: tailing line, spray, Xabi on the helm, bow spray, Pablo on helm. Sunset shots of Mapfre running fast on starboard gybe. Sophie stadning on the stern trimming the mainsheet. Ñeti on the stern with the mainsheet talks in Spanish about the wind, passing Madeira, the other boats.View forward before sunrise as the J3 (?) is being unfurled as a staysail. Sophie working the bow in the sunrise. Shot of the masthead. Foredeck work. Blair: The wind's been up and down all night and into the morning. Quite gusty between 18 and 12 knots, so we've been changing sails a little bit... So far so good... We've got about 60 miles to go now to Lisbon. Pretty nice sailing at the moment, but it's going to be tricky at the end, quite light wind. Guys have been telling me some good stories about past races into there." More foredeck work, grinding in the cockpit.Sophie, Blair, and Xabi in the cockpit as MAPFRE sails fast on starboard gybe; spray. Joan (?) eats below.Helmsman silhouetted againt the pre-dawn with Venus. Then, in daylight, Blair talks about how they're out of the light wind and into better breeze, and about Vestas. Sunrise.Rob at the wheel: "The wind's only going to get lighter from here, the next 24 hours, and we're just trying to find the best way through this light transition. Talks about Vestas. Xabi on the helm. Sophie fiddling with the stack on the bow. Then Sophie sitting on the stack while Blair pops up out of the hatch looking at the camera like a gopher.