25 mars, 2009

Ericsson 3 nästan i mål

Det är nära nu. Ericsson 3 har bara 225 Nm kvar och har drygat ut sin ledning i Volvo Ocean Race etapp till Rio de Janeiro till 104 Nm. Med lite tur och mycket skicklighet har besättningen lyckats behålla sin stundtals ganska svaga ledning före de andra fyra båtarna i fältet. Om bara vinden ökar kan målgången ske under det närmaste dygnet.

Här är de senaste pressreleaserna från Race Office (Obs att mycket har förändrats sedan dessa skickades ut):

Tuesday 24 March 2009, 2000 GMT

Whilst Ericsson 3 skipper Magnus Olsson is still battling to hold on to his hard-earned lead on the final approach to the finish line in Rio, ‘HedgeHog’ skipper Jan-Jakob is already sipping his first virtual Caipirinha on the beach in Brazil.

It was a well deserved victory, against a fleet that now includes over 180 000 registered players. Here, Jan-Jakob describes some highlights on the leg:

“Fiji was tough with favourable routes changing with every sked … Following Mark Chisnell’s TEN ZULU report stating that the likelihood of a second favorable northern route was low, I took this option some six hours too late while ‘Toxinho’ and followers made some good progress on the leading pack.

“Finally, just before rounding the Horn, about 20 miles behind ‘powerof7’ in third place I messed up with the programmable pilot, enjoying a good night’s sleep and losing more than 10 places and 50 miles. After that, the Atlantic ocean has been good and close to error free.”

The virtual win comes with an impressive real-world prize. As the winner of leg five, Jan-Jakob will be flown to Boston during the next stopover to enjoy the atmosphere of the Volvo Ocean Race and maybe to pick up some tips from race crews. Although based on this performance, perhaps it should be the other way around!

“I’m a physicist,” says Jan-Jakob. “That probably helps to understand and solve the tasks a navigator is confronted with. As a kid I was intrigued by the moves of underdog Brunel Sunergy in the Whitbread Round the World Race. It’s very nice to finally be a navigator on a winning boat, albeit a virtual one…I’m just a casual sailor, I don’t do it as often as I should. Sailing into a small harbour of a Greek island at the end of the day is close to paradise. This is my first virtual sailing race though.”

Not bad for a rookie!

Puma Leg Five Day 39 QFB; received 24.03.09 1619 GMT

Posted: 24 Mar 2009 08:19 AM PDT

Right now the only thing connecting Qingdao and Rio is a thin red line on Capey’s (Andrew Cape) computer and I can’t for the life of me think of two more different places to sail between than our Leg 5 start in China, and the finish in Brazil.

China, cold and grey emerging from years of communist autocracy, yet steeped in thousands of years of culture and still on a huge high from last years amazing Olympics, with a rapidly emerging economy, readying itself to take on the world as the next super-power. It was certainly a strange place to be for a yacht race though, seeing everyone wrapped up in big jackets and wearing long pants, almost unheard of so far in the race. The Chinese people were incredibly warm and sincere. Thanks especially to Wilson at the Sea View Garden Hotel for all his help and to Vivienne from Puma for being wonderful hosts to that country.

When we sail around the corner into Rio and see the “Christo Redempto” high on the hill, we will be arriving for a few weeks in another emerging economy and a country that will be another major player on the world stage in the years to come. Rio is sultry and sexy with an underlying dangerousness to it. In Brazil once you realize that nothing will work or run on time and that the whole pace of life runs to the unique samba rhythm that is the pulse of Rio, a little piece of you will always want to return.

Rio is a brilliant place, and that makes it all the harder to be out here right now. I was there last year on another sailboat race and spent a fantastic day touring around. I can’t wait to take my family up to the top of the Corcovado where the view is unbelievable and spend some lazy days fattening myself back up and getting to know Rio a bit more.

Rick Deppe – media crew member

Leg Five Day 39 Daily Story: Longing For Rio

Posted: 24 Mar 2009 06:42 AM PDT

As leg five draws out even further due to a complete lack of wind, the crews are longing for the finish in Rio and everything that it brings: results, families, cool beers, big steaks, showers, warm beds, and not necessarily in that order.

Ericsson 3 still holds her lead (DTF 424 nm) and although there have been a few blips in the last 24 hours, no one has taken any significant miles out of her deficit, and the chasing pair are due south of her. Ericsson 3 has only covered 172 nm in the past 24 hours and while Ericsson 4 has gained seven miles (DTL 65 nm) PUMA languishes a safe 154 nm astern.

“The light airs are making are lives a mess,” wrote MCM Gustav Morin this morning. For many of the crew, their families will be arriving in Rio, and they wanted to be there to take care of them when they arrived. For others, the chance of returning home for a break are becoming slimmer as time runs out with each windless day.

“Since we are late in, most of the families will arrive before us and all the fathers onboard are talking more often about their kids and wives,” Morin says.

Jules Salter, the navigator on Ericsson 4, has almost lost track of the number of days he has been at sea, and he is frustrated with the weather maps, which only seem to make part sense. “When you expect a gain, you make a loss,” he says.

But, he warns, “inventing weather is ‘bad science’ and expecting to know more than the men and women in beige at the weather centres is pretty dumb, but you have to try and do something.”

“If your hokum theory lines up, you can make a plan for the next few hours. Usually the plan works for about two hours, then the wind shifts and drops and you are back to square one, trying to conjure up another scenario from your onboard observations.”

The real boat race now seems to be between becalmed Green Dragon (DTF 918nm) and the limping Telefónica Blue (DTF 983 nm), who has made a more sophisticated repair to the checkstays on the mast. The team is looking for a surprise ‘comeback’, reckoning that Green Dragon is fighting more current than the maps show.

“Right now they [Green Dragon] are still well ahead, but it will be a good laugh if we could actually manage to pass them,” said skipper Bouwe Bekking, who has closed to within 65 miles.

Unlike the other teams, who are rationing food and diesel, Telefónica Blue has been well provided for by MCM Gabriele Olivo, who even brought onboard a huge bag full of mature, three-year old parmesan cheese to add variety to the daily snacks as well as some grated pieces to make the freeze dried food more enjoyable.

Not a day has passed when leftover food has been thrown away and there is enough food for the team to have extra breakfasts if they want to, something that would be the envy of the rest of the fleet, if only they knew…

They do now!

Leg Five Day 39: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)

Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) DTF 424 nm
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +65
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +154
Green Dragon IRL/CHI (Ian Walker/GBR) +494
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +559

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

Cape Horn Scoring Gate
(boat/date/rounding time/gate points)

Ericsson 3: 17.03.09 1222 GMT: 4 points
Ericsson 4: 17.03.09 1448 GMT: 3.5 points
PUMA: 17.03.09 2046 GMT: 3 points
Green Dragon: 18.03.09 0215 GMT 2.5 points
Telefónica Blue: 19.03.09 1339 GMT 2 points

Race reports are issued daily to the media at 1300 GMT by email; however, positions are updated every three hours on www.volvooceanrace.org