Volvo Ocean Race - A tale of two parts

Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking) lead the southern group.

While Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier) lead the northern group along the Ice Limit Zone, but the margins are very small and boat speeds are very similar.

At least 24 hours of very fast sailing ahead for the fleet. But the important decisions will come later on in this leg.

With the wind above 25 knots, the sea relatively flat, and the wind angle favourable to the Volvo Ocean 65s, there is a possibility of breaking the 24-hour distance sailed record set by Abu Dhabi in the 2015-16 race.

Back in March 2015, Ian Walker's team sailed 550.8 nautical miles in one 24-hour stretch on the approach to Cape Horn.

It's a big ask, as 550.8 nautical miles translates into an average speed just shy of 23 knots.

The unusual jet-stream position and cut-off low over Europe is producing tricky conditions closer to the finish in Cardiff, ETA of May 29.

Leg 9 Positions as at 09:35 UTC on Thursday 24 May:

1. Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking) -- distance to finish -- 1,664 nautical miles
2. Team AkzoNobel (Simeon Tienpont) + 10 nm
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright) + 15 nm
4. Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier) + 46 nm
5. Turn The Tide on Plastic (Dee Caffari) + 71 nm
6. MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández) + 75 nm
7. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (David Witt) + 77 nm

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