Ericssons båda båtar fortsätter att kämpa med varandra om förstaplatsen på etappen till Indien. Ericsson 4 har ökat på sin ledning en aning och ledde på måndagseftermiddagen över Ericsson 3 med 5 Nm. Till båt nummer tre, som var PUMA, var avståndet ytterligare 39 Nm. Nu återstår bara cirka 1 400 Nm för de åtta båtarna i Volvo Ocean Race. De seglar med cirka 20 knop båtfart och bör angöra Cochin inom de två närmaste dygnen.
ERICSSON 4 LEG TWO DAY 10 QFB: received 24.11.08 1306 GMT
It’s been a pretty wet 24 hours aboard the good ship Ericsson 4! We have been sailing along making a very high average boatspeed. Not quite record pace, but very close.
We have a wind angle of roughly 100 degrees. Anything in that sort of region means some serious fire hosing on deck!
For Ryan Godfrey and I, this is where we get a sort of revenge on the rest of the crew. We spend our lives completely underwater up on the foredeck while the other boys take great delight in laughing at us. At this angle, they get a taste of it, but still no way near as bad as at the front end. It humours us to hear them complaining about the water.
We got our first sighting of Ericsson 3, four hours ago. She is roughly 8 miles dead astern of us, and sailing a very good race. I imagine we’ll be tied together for a while now. It is quite good to have another boat in sight as it pushes you to race a bit harder.
We’ve had a few crimes onboard recently… The latest one was in the toilet. I won’t go into detail, but I can assure you, it wasn’t pretty. Another crime was the loss of the serving spoon, which Dave Endean decided to throw overboard with the leftover food. We are now stirring our meals with a winch handle! In Dave’s defence, he was handed the pot in pitch-blackness and asked to ditch the food overboard. There is another culprit involved…
Everything else seems to be rumbling along okay. We’ve had our fair share of breakdowns, downtime and bad luck in this leg. We’re just doing our best to minimise all that nasty stuff and keep the bow pointing toward India.
Crew are doing well with only minor injuries, which is a good thing. Tony (Tony Mutter/NZL) is enjoying being back on the yacht. He’s being extra careful not to hurt himself. I guess he just doesn’t want me near him with the medical kit again!
Phil ‘Blood’ Jameson
HELMETS AND GOGGLES
The eight-strong Volvo Ocean Race fleet is cracking along now at a steady 20 knots, broad reaching in the southeast trade winds and clicking off the miles towards the finish in Cochin. The helmets and goggles are back on as the waves crash over the boat, but the motion is better and the water is warmer.
“It is pretty hard to move around down below as the boat shudders and shakes, but there is no violent slamming motion that you get jumping waves downwind or the abrupt deceleration of nosedives,” says Green Dragon skipper, Ian Walker/GBR.
The teams are lining up for the Doldrums lottery, just over a day a way, and the direct route to Cochin is blocked by a windless area the size of Spain. Will the fleet go through it or around it? Ian Walker explains the position: “Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA) seems to have had a change of heart and has dived north for a more direct crossing near Diego Garcia. The Telefónicas are out west, with PUMA (Ken Read/USA) in the middle near the Ericsson boats. We are holding the eastern flank, while Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP) and Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) further east and behind.”
Walker says it is not too late for the fleet to change its mind and this is what the Green Dragons are trying to decide now. Walker thinks that there looks to be better wind to the east, but it means sailing more miles. Going direct (in the west) is very appealing, but looks easier for the leaders than those behind as the Doldrums are expanding in this area. With such a tight race, even a few hours of no wind could make the difference between first and fifth place.
Since losing their port daggerboard yesterday, life for Bouwe Bekking/NED and his men racing Telefónica Blue has become a whole lot tougher. “We have had the rug pulled out from under us somewhat,” says navigator Simon Fisher/GBR.
“The reaching that we were so looking forward to during the previous days, as we felt we would be in good shape to make gains, has now become an exercise in damage limitation,” he says.
Rather than eagerly awaiting the position reports to see if his team has gained, Fisher now awaits them grimly, hoping that the loss in miles is not going to be too great. Bouwe Bekking reckons that the damage was caused by a collision with an object. Now, the boat is not easy to steer, as there is nothing to prevent her from slipping sideways. The normally straight ‘rooster tail’ wake from the back of the boat is now a zigzag all over the ocean.
Towards the back of the fleet, the crew of Delta Lloyd is in sight of the Russians. Instead of racing a blip on the computer, they can see the boat, which is just ahead and to leeward. “Everyone is fired up,” says navigator Matt Gregory from the USA. “Racing a ‘real’ boat’, that you can see with your own eyes, brings out the intensity in everyone onboard,” he says.
At 1300 GMT today, with 1415 nm to run to the finish, it was still an all-Ericsson show, but with Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA) regaining the lead from Ericsson 3 (Anders Lewander/SWE) although only by five miles. PUMA and Telefónica Blue had swapped places, with PUMA now in third place, 44 nm behind the leaders. The order of the chasing pack has not changed over the last 24 hours, and although the top five boats have made small gains, the bottom three boats have all lost miles to the leader over the previous three hours.
Speeds are all around the 20-knot mark, with Ericsson 4 achieving the highest 24-hour run of 479 nm. The computers are predicting an arrival date of 18 November for the leader, but this will undoubtedly change once the fleet becomes embedded in the Doldrums. The picture should be clearer in the next day or so.
Leg Two Day 10: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) DTF 1415
Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders Lewander/SWE) +5
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +44
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +51
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +72
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) +117
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) +198
Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermudez/ESP) +214
Position reports are issued daily at 1300 GMT by email; however, positions are updated every three hours.