Also have been thinking about the UFO/OFNI topic from a statistical point of view:
1. Let's "narrow down" the band of sea where the fleet is sailing in the SO to an imaginary section between Cape Town and the AEZ. This is ~620 nautical miles. For the sake of comparisons let's convert this to...
Looks bad for Akzo :( With no main, they won't have the boat speed to outrun the "eye", unless it dives more to the south. With wave state increasing and steady 35-40 knots, not much chance to pull a crew member onto the mast for the fixes...
Good luck for them nevertheless.
A gybe is imminent. And if Mapfre truly has that edge, which is mentioned by the Racexperts video, by sailing 2-3 degs lower, they might run them down. If they manage to keep their AIS separation "distance" by choosing another lane on port tack, they could have a chance.
Congrats to Eric Bellion, a very nice performance. Just watched his funny Xmas video again, almost colliding with Alan Roura :)
As to Conrad: suggesting he manages to have a headsail as well, two questions remain open:
1. With around 700 miles to go, and suggesting a VMG speed of 3-4 knots...
Too bad for Alex: no AIS, no AP = no sleep.
No sleep = no focus.
And quite risky along La Manche and Britanny with traffic overnight.
He might need to tack just to remain a bit further offshore.
2nd is still nice.