The Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) is on its last leg, in the literal sense, as the seven yachting teams in the race are set to start out from Gothenburg for the 700-mile dash to the Netherlands.
Kiwi sailor Peter Burling, serving with Team Brunel, is listed as holding second place, but they are tied on 65 points with Mapfre.
That has proved surprising, as when the boats left Auckland, Mapfre had a lead at the halfway stage that seemed insurmountable.
Burling and Brunel were in last place following the leg from Hong Kong to Auckland and the overall title seems within Burling’s reach if he can maintain the speed that permitted him to catch the leaders.
If he can take the win in the VOC, Burling can claim the singular feat of winning Olympic sailing gold, the America’s Cup and then the round the world race.
The challenge to that quest is that Burling’s friend Blair Tuke is driving the Mapfre boat and would like nothing better than to deny his mate the sort of bragging rights that might persist for decades to come.
Another Kiwi sailor, if you detect the pattern here, is a veteran of the VOR and past winner, Daryl Wislang. He is driving the Dongfeng Race Team entry and trails the other two by just one point.
Those three boats would have to sink for any of the others to pose any sort of threat, as AkzoNobel is in fourth, trailing third by 11 points.
The winner should be known by Sunday (NZT), but the race is going to be a tight one. Dongfeng could capture a bonus point for the best elapsed time.
Should there be a tie, they would have to go ‘round again…
Actually, the tiebreak would be the standings of the In-Ort Race Series.
The boats are all of a similar design, so the race could, in the view of some, come down to a question of metres.