5 mars, 2009

Puma drygar ut ledningen

Puma har under natten drygat ut ledningen en aning och leder nu med 12 Nm före Ericsson 4. Det ser ut som om Ericsson 3 ligger ordentligt efter eftersom båten nu ligger 98 Nm efter ledaren, men det kan bero på det vägval Ericsson 3 gjorde igår. Om det faller väl ut kan Ericsson 3 hamna i ledningen om ett tag.

I övrigt är ställningen ungefär oförändrad i deltävlingen.

Här är den senast pressreleasen:

Ericsson 3 Leg Five Day 19 QFB: received 24.03.09 15:25 GMT

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 09:04 AM CST

A day of destruction

We are very happy with being second to the scoring gate. It was a hard fight against Puma. We were both pushing our boats beyond the limits, reaching in average 25 knots of heavy air and difficult sea state. Even though it was broad daylight it was tricky to see anything. It was a bit of a wet roller-coaster ride and a huge contrast to the kind of sailing we have seen for the past few days with flat water, sunny sky and average of 10 knots of wind.

Now the boat is rocking and slamming like crazy again and you have to do some bailing every second hour. And it’s not shorts and t-shirt temperatures anymore. In just around 30 hours we have changed mode to wearing warm thermals, fleece and full on wet weather gear.

“Someone said to me that this is a down wind race. I don’t really agree”. Thomas Johanson said today, coming down from a bumpy watch.

I don’t really agree either. So far the only memorable downwind we have had was from the start in Alicante and the days close to the Southern Ocean on leg 2, before turning to port and starting reaching up to India.

Anyway, it has been pretty rough the last 30 hours and we are a bit bruised and battered. More than one has sore ribs from being washed around in the cockpit and we have had some other misfortunes as well.

I started yesterday evening when I slipped in the media station area and taking my laptop with me. It did not come out of that situation without injury like me. It fell to the floor and the screen broke. I guess I should be happy that it has been working for this long, but still I was a bit upset and went to sleep to put an end to my anger.

At the same time we were pushing hard towards the scoring gate. Once we were there, we tacked. Everything was a bit of a mess.

Gustav Morin – mcm

Green Dragon Leg Five Day 19 QFB: received 24.03.09 15:18 GMT

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 08:59 AM CST

Anybody watching the fleet on the internet would be used to seeing all the coloured dots (boats) moving along a pretty similar path. Every now and then a boat may take a slight risk and go away from the others but normally the only boats that separate are those that lag behind and may have different weather or those that feel they need to gamble to get back in the race. All of a sudden after the scoring gate at 36 South on leg 5 the fleet has scattered, so what is going on?

What we are dealing with is very changeable weather as a new low pressure forms and breaks up the long standing high pressure that you historically route around to the South. This coupled with the ice gate being very far North makes it very unclear what should be the fastest route to take.

For three days we have been running or reaching South in the traditional way whilst talking about going East and ‘cutting the corner’ to the Ice Gate which is ESE from us. For the last 36 hours the computer has given this Easterly route the edge over one to the South – but only just and not without considerable risk of getting caught up in the light winds of the high pressure. Much as we would love to try something different we didn’t want to go against all the historical routes to the South and nor did we really want to beat upwind in 30 knots for two days.

Well three hours ago that all changed when the latest weather gave even more credibility to the ‘Easterly route’ and the Southerly route suddenly looked the more risky. I suspect there have been a lot of skippers and navigators scratching their heads. Wouter and I have been agonising over this for days and we needed no more persuasion to turn left and head directly upwind for the ice gate. E3 had the guts to make this call earliest and may have stolen a march on the fleet – well done to them if it works out. I have to say the crew have taken the change of plan well considering they no longer have a week of downwind sailing to look forward to – at least it should stay warmer in the North.

The fleet is now well and truly scattered and with a lot of uncertainty in the weather it can only be good news for the Dragon. There will be no
Southern Ocean for a while and there will be lots more upwind sailing, which we don’t like but there should be some big opportunities ahead. Each six hourly weather forecast will be awaited with even more anxiety than normal.

Ian Walker – Skipper

Leg Five Day 19 Daily Story: Ericsson 3’s Brave Move

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 08:20 AM CST

As the Volvo Open 70 fleet drag raced towards the scoring gate at 36 degrees S, it was all to play for, up to the very end. With the eventual winner of the first points of leg five being Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA), yet it was Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE) who received all the interest after their crossing.

Grael and his International crew picked up four points at 00:21 GMT last night as they crossed the gate and were closely followed by their stable-mate Ericsson 3 at 00:53 GMT. The Nordic crew then decided to make their brave move and immediately tacked to the north-east, away from all the fleet. Olsson has officially put all his trust in his young navigator Aksel Magdahl, who believes that the best course is to the north of the high pressure between them and Cape Horn and not the south. We will all have to see if this pays off for the crew or makes them lose precious miles.

Despite PUMA’s (Ken Read/USA) crew pushing flat out towards the gate, they finally crossed the line a mere 10 minutes after the Nordic crew. Next came Telefonica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) followed by the Green Dragon just over an hour behind them at 04:31 GMT.

Read described his disappointment this morning, “Sadly. In the end it was not to be and they [Ericsson 4] beat us to the gate by about 5 miles with E3 sneaking into second two miles ahead of us. On top of this the conditions last night and today have been nothing short of horrible: blast reaching in 25 to 30 knots is the most uncomfortable angle on these boats – wet, really wet!”

So as four of the fleet head south to get around the high pressure and inevitably make their way further into the Southern Ocean, it is PUMA in the lead at 13:00 GMT with Ericsson 4 a mere nine nm behind on the leaderboard. Yet, in reality Ericsson 4 are 103 nm to the south-west of il Mostro with Telefonica Blue and Green Dragon to the north-west of them with only two miles separating them.

Bekking on Telefonica Blue was a happy man today to pass the Dragon to take fourth at the gate, “So we beat the odds to actually pass one team to the scoring waypoint, I had never expected that. But it showed again today, close reaching we seem to be slippery. So now on our way into the Southern Ocean, which looks to be a very tricky affair. This meant as well that one boat [Ericsson 3] has taken the option for a northerly route. If that route will win them the leg, they will write history, as up to now in all the legs down south, the south has won.”

Leg Five Day 19: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)

PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) DTF 6,978 nm
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +9
Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +46
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +56
Green Dragon IRL/CHI (Ian Walker/GBR) +58

Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermudez/ESP) DNS
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) DNS
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS

Länk: www.volvooceanrace.org