After 15 grueling days, The Ocean Race fleet is in the final stages of Leg 2, the 4,600 nautical mile race from Mindelo, Cabo Verde to Cape Town, South Africa. 11th Hour Racing Team is in second place, and fast closing the gap on first placed Malizia, now just 21.7 nautical miles ahead. As predicted by 11th Hour Racing Team Strategist Marcel van Triest, the crucial moments of the final hurdle of this leg are now coming into play.

In a brisk voice note left by our Skipper Charlie Enright last night, he describes the final phase of Leg 2 as “three races within a race”. Top of his mind is the high pressure system currently moving around and under Cape Town which looks like it could cause a final compression of the fleet as they get caught in its light winds.

The biggest struggle for the sailors will be staying sharp and on top of the competition as the physical beating they have taken over the past week or so takes its toll and fatigue sets in. The opportunities for big gains diminish – meaning every decision counts, no matter how small.

It ain’t over ‘till it’s over and there’s everything to play for. Here’s what Charlie had to say:

We have three races within a race, within this leg, between now and Cape Town. Firstly we have to get down and off the ice gate. We have a sail onboard – the A2 – which can help us and which Malizia and Holcim don’t have, they only have A3s, so that could be cool.

Then we have to point and shoot up towards Cape Town, which will be a north easterly trajectory and where we will encounter a ridge and the whole fleet will compress and we’ll have to be on our toes: it will be first in, first out. We could bob around for a while and anyone could pass anybody. Then we will end this Leg with a grueling 100 mile coastal race.

Four days left and three races within a race – we’ve got to stay fresh to the end.

Follow the arrivals into Cape Town here.