THE team of Kerry sailing star Damien Foxall is on track to win the Volvo Ocean Race following a comprehensive victory in the latest stage of the epic round-the-world race which is due to finish in Galway early next month.
Foxall, who hails from Caherdaniel and learned to sail in the waters off Derrynane, is helmsman and trimmer for the predominantly French Groupama team who are in first place following eight-months and 39,000 nautical miles of racing.
Groupama are now in first place overall heading into the final, and shortest, stage of the race between Lorient in France and Galway.
Run every two years, the Volvo race is a remarkable test of human stamina with sailors braving the most dangerous waters on the planet.
The eighth leg of the race, a 2,000 nautical mile trek from Lisbon to Lorient ended on Saturday with the Groupama team finishing in first place and scoring 30 points.
The Groupama boat took just over four days to complete the leg reaching the finishing line in just over an hour ahead of their closest rivals.
The victory brings the team's total points tally to 219 and puts the team in first place overall, ahead of second placed Puma who trail by 23 points. There are 42 points still up for grabs in two port races and in the final leg of the
race. That final leg of the event takes place in early July when the six-strong fleet will set off on a hazardous 485 nautical mile sprint between Lorient and Galway, where the six strong fleet are expected to arrive on July 3.
Sailing fans in Kerry may be able to catch a glimpse of the state of the art fleet as it makes its way to Galway.
Though the exact route each boat will take remains a closely guarded secret most of the fleet is expected to pass the Blasket Islands and Slea Head on or around Monday, July 2.