ALICANTE, Spain, April 25 (Reuters) – - American Charlie Enright edged closer to his dream of a Volvo Ocean Race leg six victory in his home port of Newport, Rhode Island, as he retained a narrow lead on Saturday.
The 30-year-old Team Alvimedica skipper, a rookie in the nine-month round-the-world offshore race, learned to sail in Newport and would love nothing more than to enter the harbor as a winner in the 5,010-nautical mile (nm) stage from Itajai, Brazil. However, there are still nearly 4,000nm and at least 12 days left to sail through the Atlantic and his crew were protecting a slender 8.8nm lead over Chinese pursuers Dongfeng Race Team.
The other boats in the six-strong fleet, including the all-women’s crew of Team SCA (Sweden), are packed tightly behind Dongfeng with overall leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing bringing up the rear, but less than 20nm behind Alvimedica.
Enright’s boat, backed by Turkish sponsors and navigated by Australian Will Oxley, took a gamble to sail north of the rest of the fleet which looked to be paying dividends due to slightly higher wind pressure.
The boats will visit 11 ports in a race that started on Oct. 11 in Alicante, Spain, and ends on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Overall standings (after five legs, lowest points wins): 1 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 9 points, 2 Dongfeng Race Team (China) 16, 3 Team Brunel (Netherlands) 18, 4 Team Alvimedica (U.S./Turkey) 19, 5 MAPFRE (Spain) 20, 6 Team SCA (Sweden) 29.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)