20 oktober, 2008

Ombytta roller i täten för Volvo Ocean Race

Det hjar varit stora förändringar i täten för Volvo Ocean Race det senaste dygnet. Ericsson 3 ligger idag tvåa, 39 Nm efter ledande Green Dragon. Ericssons andra båtar ligger på sjunde plats. Här nedan följer några av dagens pressreleaser.

TEAM RUSSIA LEG ONE DAY 9 QFB: received 10.10.08 1712 GMT

It is getting very hot here inside the boat, I am wet and sticky in our navstation trying to pick a way through the doldrums. Wouter, our navigator and meteorologist on board came up with some good analysis and we made a plan we trust so far. It seems other people have similar plans as the fleet generally converges between 027.30 and 028.00 W.

The sun is really high already, must be at approximately 73 degrees at noon, just a guess as our sun tables are vacuum packed to keep them dry. It is still a rule of the race to have a sextant, table and an accurate time piece on board, just in case something happens with the GPS system.

We all look very much forward for the first rain cloud to pass over us to take a shower, the last decent shower was more than a week ago in Alicante.

Andreas Hanakamp – skipper

ERICSSON 4 LEG ONE DAY 9 QFB: received 19.10.08 1422 GMT

One week after the start and a lot of different feelings on board. After an intense race with Puma for the lead of the leg, where at some stages both boats had just a few metres from each other, we had the call from Volvo doctors that Tony Mutter (helmsman and sail coordinator), had to come off the boat, as his knee infection was not getting better. We changed our course to Cape Verde, as it would be Tony’s last chance get off the boat before Noronha. We lost a few hours dropping Tony to a motor boat and then went back to the race.

Later came the message that Tony arrived safe at Cape Verde and our team doctor was already with him. It was a sad moment on board, as everybody was worried about Tony’s health and that we were losing a very important crew member, but it was the right decision, otherwise he could be in risk.

Right now we are approaching the equator with not many miles from the leg leader. It’s been very warm inside the boat. Yesterday we had our first big cloud with intense sails change and a lot of rain that gave us the opportunity to have a shower.

We are losing ground to all boats which is not good. All the fleet is still very close and we are trying to get the best points at the scoring gate of Noronha.

Good winds, Joca

Joao Signorini – trimmer


“The heaters have been turned on and the grinders have been turned off – for the moment anyway,” says Ken Read/USA, skipper of PUMA who is still in the lead, as the fleet racing in leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race enters the calm, oily stillness of the Doldrums.

Temperatures rise as the eight-strong fleet dodges the big black clouds and the squalls which accompany them, typical of the Doldrums. “We are being hunted by clouds,” said Ericsson 3’s navigator Aksel Magdahl. “It does not feel fair that once again it pays off to be behind. It should not be like that in sailing. The rich should always get richer.”

Ericsson 3 is clinging onto second place and was hoping to avoid a repeat of their exit from the Mediterranean earlier in the week when their comfortable lead was sucked away by an adverse current and they were ‘parked’ for half a day, being passed by several boats. “After finally fighting our way back into contention, the same is happening again,” worries Magdahl.

In third place, progress has been rapid for the Green Dragons (Ian Walker/GBR) and the team is looking for a podium position when they round the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha in about three days time. “West is best they say and we’ve had to give up a lot to get out here,” said navigator, Ian Moore in a radio interview today. “We all talked about it and so often it pays, but it was pretty hard watching the other guys turn south towards the Doldrums,” he said.

It’s going to be an exciting 48 hours as the fleet bunches together, but it is a very fickle part of the world and the whole fleet could very easily be turned on its head. It will be the Wind Gods who will decide the fate of the fleet and who gets free first, back into the trade winds.

The effects of being one man down onboard Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael) in fourth place are being felt, according to Guy Salter/GBR. Tony Mutter was one of the top trimmers and drivers onboard and his lack of presence in the team has made it a lot harder on the rest of the crew. It is frustrating Salter, himself a competent sailor and previous competitor in this event, as the media crew member (MCM) not being able to join in with sailing the boat.

“We are suffering from not being as far west as we would have liked to have been at this point,” said Salter, whose brother Jules is the navigator onboard. “Skipper Torben Grael has had to stand a watch now as well as being involved in the major decisions which is proving very difficult physically,” he said.

The team on Delta Lloyd (Ger O’Rourke/IRL) has been putting in a superb performance, for fifth place after eight days of racing, but the team is watching the weather carefully, particularly a tropical storm which is approaching the fleet. “It’s 75 nm wide and heading straight for the fleet’s path,” said Ger O’Rourke last night. “There could be big wins and losses in how the fleet manages this obstacle. These storms suck up and disturb the direction of the wind. Let’s hope we get our timing right,” he said.

Capitalising on the front runners hitting the Doldrums wall, Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) is right back into contention, just 48 nm behind PUMA, helped by the wind moderating at the head of the fleet and by being able to use their repaired spinnaker to catch the fleet.

“For the last few days with the sail problems we have had, it has been a bit like boxing with one hand tied behind your back,” said Bekking.

Gone now are the big waves and nose diving for Telefónica Blue as the sailing becomes more subtle with the crew teasing the best speeds possible out of the boat as the team edges south into softening winds and, eventually, the Doldrums.

Five nautical miles behind Telefónica Blue is the Russian team, which reports that their boat Kosatka smells like a stable for a horse, as the temperature below rises.

Onboard Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP), Mikel Pasabant (MCM) says that the crew is missing cookies and chocolate, but otherwise they are eating and drinking very well. “Some of the crew say they are even getting fatter,” he reports. The black Spanish boat is 71 miles behind PUMA.

Keeping hydrated in the Doldrums sauna is very important. “The water make is a value that we could not do without and seems to get run overtime down here,” says PUMA’s Ken Read. “”We are constantly preaching ‘drink water’. If you don’t, you develop hangover symptoms pretty quick. Not that I have those symptoms often when on land, but I have been told,” he says.

As the fleet negotiates the big, black clouds of the Doldrums, the race veterans onboard PUMA wisely nod their heads and say, ‘welcome to the Doldrums, and if this isn’t it, then we are really close.’

“I can’t wait for them to say, ‘welcome to the south east trades,” laughs Read.

At the 1300 GMT position report today, the whole fleet had made gains on PUMA, whose lead had been reduced to a mere four nautical miles. With still 4210 nm left of this leg to Cape Town for the leaders, Telefónica Blue and Telefónica Black had both notched up the highest average boat speed (12.8 knots) for the hour preceding this report, with Ericsson 4 averaging 12.5. Telefónica Blue also claimed the highest 24-hour run of 335 nm.

Leg One Day 9: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to leader)

PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) 4210 DTF
Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders Lewander/SWE) +4
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +8
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +33
Delta Lloyd IRL (Ger O’Rourke/IRL) +41
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +48
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) +53
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) +71