PORT STANLEY, FALKLAND ISLANDS – One hears that Vestas 11th Hour Racing is planning to motor from the Falklands north toward the the endpoint of Leg 7 at Itajaí, Brazil. If they do go all the way under power, that's fully 2900km or a little more than 1800nm as the crow flies. Presumably, however, they will head northwest toward the South American coast for flatter water, adding some distance to their long journey.
No doubt Vestas will take on fuel bladders and/or jerry cans before leaving the Falklands, considerably extending their normal motoring range, while off-loading most or all of the crew in favor of fresh bodies and minds from the shore team.
If they motor all the way, and can average ten knots, it will take at least 180 hours plus whatever additional distance they add to hug the coast. That's a minimum of 7.5 days. If they leave by Monday, April 2nd, that conservatively would put them in Itajaí before the 15th, even allowing for a longer, coastal route and a stop or three along the coast for fuel. That's plenty of time to put in a new stick in Itajaí, and get sorted before the start of Leg 8 to Newport on April 22nd.
No doubt there is a back-up mast or two with the rest of the traveling Volvo "boatyard" that should be arriving in Itajaí soon, if not already there. Question is, how many back-up masts will be in Itajaí, and how many teams, other than Vestas, will need a replacement mast.
Even with a stop or three along the coast to take on fuel, Vestas could motor to Itajaí and be there by April 15th – fully a week before the start of Leg 8 to Newport, RI on April 22n