24 november, 2008

Ericsson 4 i ledningen före systerbåten

Torben Grael (bilden) och hans besättning på Ericsson 4 behåller ledningen i Volvo Ocean Race. På måndagsmorgonen låg de etta, 6 Nm före Ericsson 3 med Anders Lewander och hans besättningen. På tredje plats låg PUMA, 38 Nm efter ledaren.

De största förändringarna det senaste dygnet har varit mellan ledarbåtarna, som har skiftat placering flera gånger.

Nu återstår knappt 1 500 Nm av delsträckan innan båtarna kommer fram till Cochin i Indien. Nästa uppdatering av positionerna kommer måndag förmiddag.

Länk: www.volooceanrace.org

Rapporter från båtarna

ERICSSON 3 LEG TWO DAY 9 QFB: received 23.11.08 1649 GMT

3400 miles from Cape Town. We have all experienced demanding conditions in the southern ocean. We have had opportunities provided for big different tactics and leverage around the gate. But still all boats are gathered so close; maybe you can use the saying, like in the eye of a needle in a haystack

We can’t see the opposition but certainly feel their close appearance. I have just been off watch resting away in thoughts of the race with Pink Floyd, but yet somehow relaxing from the hunt we feel from the other boats and the great offensive attitude we have forward. We are in the lead, and the routing has us all in a main and jib setup with fast steady momentum and rhythm here in the trade winds of the Indian Ocean.

How do we gain now? How do we go faster? It’s in the small details now, that we can gain immediate effect, rethink the stack to gain a few kilos outboard, small sail trim change, steer to the wind pressure, changes and wave state and millions of other small, small ever-changing factors to improve our performance.

The fleet changes in position, beside speed, is to prepare the strategic around the positioning of doldrums both in respect of light fields and to your close opponents.

Next time, during my off watch, I will turn down the system with a soft Swedish tune instead, dream away with my family and get a deep short rest.

All well onboard Ericsson 3.

Anders Lewander – skipper


Just when everything seemed to be going right for Bouwe Bekking and his men on Telefónica Blue, it all went wrong again. The boat was loving the conditions, the crew were pushing hard, and slowly, but surely, climbing back up the leaderboard, when the crew heard a big bang, and everything changed.

“We snapped one of our daggerboards, the boards which prevent the boat from slipping sideways,” explained skipper Bouwe Bekking. “We destroyed it and had to stop the boat for 45 minutes,” he said. Even worse for the crew, the little speed they were able to do, was on the wrong tack and sailing away from the finish in India and they lost 10 precious miles.

The crew found hammers, chisels and hacksaws to try and cut the board free, but, in the end, Pepe Ribes from Spain was lowered into the water to get rid of all the bits and pieces so that the board could be raised again.

The team is underway again, but sailing much slower than they would like. The good news is that Laurent Pages from France, who was injured in the big weather last week when he was washed down the boat, is back up on deck and even trimming the mainsail.

“You can’t stop him,” says Bekking. “He [Laurent] was getting very, very bored, so we have given him this joy, as the conditions are not too bad.” The crew have braced Pages between two spinnakers and made a little stand to lock his feet in to. His injured arm is hanging limply beside his body and he is still unable use it.

The jury is clearly out on Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR) as to whether the crew should attempt to repair their broken boom or not. Skipper Ian Walker says the boat is still going well with no boom.

“When we have the mainsail set up, it looks good. The problems are when we need to react quickly to shifts of gusts as have about four sheets hanging off it.” He says repairing the boom could be more of a distraction, especially as even with the repair, it will far from 100 percent.

Meanwhile, Tom Braidwood/AUS and Damien Foxall/IRL have been busy fixing other things, including water leaking badly through the glue joining the port daggerboard. While they were making the repair, the steering sheave, which prevents the boat from Chinese gybing, came off.

Braidwood assessed the damage and decided on stopping the leak first, as the team was able to steer with the leeward wheel. Braidwood is in the mood for repairs and is keen to have the challenge of repairing the boom, but he is waiting for Ian Walker to give him the go ahead. If the repair is attempted, Braidwood says it will be from a combination of mainsail battens, glue, carbon and anything else he can find. He says it will look ugly, but if it works, he will be very happy.

Meanwhile, the Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) crew was unfortunate enough to catch about seven metres of heavy, arm-thick rope around the port rudder, which stalled the boat and slowed it down.

The fleet is all beam reaching towards the finish in Cochin, India, and is in, or almost into the tradewinds. There will be around three more days of these fast conditions before the teams arrive at the lottery of the Doldrums for the second time in this race. It will be interesting to see how the fleet tackles this obstruction. “Fore sure, there will differing opinions,” says Bekking. Mark Chisnell looks in detail at the fleet’s strategy for the next three days in today’s TEN ZULU report at: http://www.volvooceanrace.org/news/article/2008/november/TEN-ZULU-REPORT-L2-D9/index.aspx .

Today at t 1300 GMT, the lead had swapped and it was Ericsson 3’s (Anders Lewander/SWE) turn at the front, seven miles ahead of yesterday’s leader Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA). Ericsson 3 is creaming along at around 19 knots, the highest average in the fleet. Telefónica Blue and PUMA have both overtaken Green Dragon, to move up to third spot and fourth respectively. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) hasswapped places with Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) and Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP) brings up the rear.

PUMA LEG TWO DAY 9 QFB: received 23.11.08 0913 GMT

Hi there!
The heat is back, it’s a good thing. We are doing some good miles towards the finish, that’s also a good thing. Il Mostro is in fifth place, that’s a good and bad one… We could be delivering the boat in slow speed instead of racing, so for this reason, we cannot complain but as a ‘racer’, it is always frustrating to have someone’s transom in front of us…

To tell the truth, I am looking forward to the Doldrums and a new situation where anything could happen. But, once again, the Ericsson boats are in the lead and, so far, they deserve it! Conditions are pretty easy and the team is working well, this is a satisfaction.

I take the opportunity of this little text to raise my hat to Casey (Casey Smith/AUS) , our boat captain, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Salty ( Rob Salthouse/NZL) and our German legend Michi Mueller who worked together to repair Il Mostro. ‘Battler’ (Robbie Naismith), has been enjoying the strong
conditions, especially the 48 knot gusts with a full main, he loved it!

No pirates around, only few flying fish. Bring them on, we are looking for action here!

I am going to get some good dreams…another voyage!

See ya!

Sidney Gavignet