On what should be the last night at sea for most of the fleet, the Volvo Ocean Race crews enjoyed extremely fast downwind sailing, with winds upwards of 35 knots, and speeds regularly exceeding 25 knots.

At least that was the case until Team Brunel became the first to hit the speed bump – sailing out of the pressure into light winds and a big right-hand windshift at about 0500 UTC.

Wind speed went from 30 knots to between 6-8 knots. And within an hour, a 12-mile lead over Dongfeng Race Team had all but disappeared.

As of 0650 UTC, the bleeding had stopped. The lead was back to 5-miles as Dongfeng slows in similar conditions, but Charles Caudrelier has his red boat positioned a few miles further east.

We’re seeing the massive compression that Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking has been warning us about for days now.

And it’s perhaps thrown open an opportunity to boats positioned further east like Vestas 11th Hour Racing and even team AkzoNobel who may be able to cut the corner on those ahead.

In fact, if you look at the tracker, any of the top six boats could make a move if they can hold on to the pressure for just an extra half hour.

That means today is a day to be hitting refresh on the live race tracker as Leg 8 comes to a dramatic conclusion. Expect the unexpected!