18 maj, 2009

Tätt i toppen för Volvo Ocean Race

Det är väldigt tätt i toppen för Volvo Ocean Race på väg mot Irland. Efter starten av den sjunde delsträckan ligger fältet mycket väl samlat. De fem första båtarna med Ericsson 3 som ledare ligger alla samlade inom 5 Nm avstånd. Därmed är tävlingen helt öppen och allt kan hända så snart det börjar blåsa ordentligt.

Här är morgonens pressreleaser från Race Office:

Green Dragon Leg Seven Day 2 QFB: received 17.05.09 1737 GMT
Posted: 17 May 2009 09:37 AM PDT
Why did I have to mention the threat of lobster pots yesterday? Today as we rounded Cape Sable off the Southern tip of Nova Scotia we were confronted by hundreds of them and to make matters worse, it was low tide and the lines were slack with little or no pattern.
After zig zagging our way through with a lookout forward, we eventually hooked one on our leeward daggerboard. Five minutes later we had three of them entangling us. After backing down and clearing two of them we realised one line had sawn its way through the leading edge of the port daggerboard. We managed to raise the board and cut it free but we are left with a 250 cut in the laminate of our daggerboard one metre up from the tip. The rope we hit must have been over a metre below the surface!
We cannot leave the board in this state or the laminate will peel away and the board will start to disintegrate. Right now the watch system is on hold and we have four teams of people working onboard. Two people are sailing the boat as fast as they can with no daggerboards, three people led by Neal McDonald are working to repair the damaged board down below and three people led by Damian are working to swap the windward board end for end into the leeward case and two people are eating or resting. Hopefully we will have the daggerboards reversed and can sail at 100% in the next hour and the port daggerboard can hopefully be fixed before we have to go upwind.
This is a big disappointment as we were in sight of five boats and sailing well. We can only hope that we don’t lose touch with the fleet and live to fight another day.
Got to go and help.
Ian Walker – skipper

Ericsson 4 Leg Seven Day 2 QFB: received 17.5.09 1457 GMT
Posted: 17 May 2009 06:57 AM PDT
It’s all come as a bit of a shock to the system. Back onboard and trying to slip back into the routines which will once again be second nature in a day or so. But there are a lot of moments of Déjà vu.
The temperature drop was sudden – just a couple of hours after the start and I was in two thermal layers and a mid layer – close to the max worn in the southern ocean! Warm hats and balaclava’s plus gloves are essential on deck.
The thick chilling fog that descended whilst we were Boston Harbour lifted just before sunrise, it was the first time that the weather had not played ball during the Boston stopover after the beautiful sunny weekends – perfect for the thousands of spectators who showed up to support us.
I will always remember the bow of the ship looming out of the fog as we rounded the top mark. The Delta Lloyd boys suffered the most and I’m sure the language on the bridge of the ship would have been pretty blue when the whole Volvo fleet squeezed in front of the vessel – it was almost like the Malacca Straits again (forgetting the fog and the vast temperature difference).
Daylight came early onboard the yacht and we can see six boats clearly – all lined up off the coast of Nova Scotia. The last time I was this close to Nova Scotia was on a Marblehead to Halifax race in the 90s, it was a LOT warmer then but was very foggy and it had taken us a couple of days to get this far!.
The sky is grey and gives the feeling of cold weather – I’m sure that if the sky were blue but the temperature was the same, we would feel a lot warmer!
We are jib reaching along and keep sailing through vast areas of Lobster pots – many of which we managed to hook up on the keel, daggerboard and rudders – luckily they seemed to come off relatively easily – but not before that ‘jaws’ moment of the large buoys chasing the boat before they are sucked round the foils to their freedom. I can’t imagine that the forward edges of our foils are in the same immaculate shape as they were less than 24hrs ago when we started.
We can see that the other boats are weaving their way through the lobster pot field. I mentioned to Tony Mutter that there must be a lot of lobster in the area.
“Or maybe not!” he replied. I’d be amazed that the number of lobster is stable after the amount I saw on the menu in the New England area many of which ended up on my plate!). There are several people who help by farming lobster and I know I would be happier if I knew I was eating from a sustainable lobster source.
We are expecting a little more wind in the next few hours and with those even colder temperatures onboard. Hope it doesn’t get too much colder as there isn’t that much clothing left in my bag – and I’m the sort of person who feels warmer in the knowledge that I have at least one more item to go – if I wear everything and feel cold then I know that I won’t be getting any warmer!
Guy Salter MCM

Leg Seven Day 2 Daily Story: Foggy Start To Atlantic Crossing
Posted: 17 May 2009 06:55 AM PDT
For the fleet racing in leg seven of the Volvo Ocean Race, the final ocean leg before three coastal legs take the race to its conclusion in St Petersburg in late June, the city of Boston is long forgotten and so is the whale exclusion zone. It’s the fog that they have to concentrate on.
At 1300 GMT today, PUMA was leading the pack briskly east towards Cape Sable Island, a small Canadian island located at the southernmost point of the Nova Scotia peninsula, in around 20 knots of south-southeasterly breeze. They have around 400 nm to run to the scoring gate set off Newfoundland.
Only 11 nautical miles separate the fleet from first to last and six nautical miles from north to south. Telefónica Blue is furthest to the north with PUMA alongside. Further south is Ericsson 4 with Green Dragon to her south, but 10 miles astern. Ericsson 3 and Delta Lloyd are further south again and Fernando Echávarri with Telefónica Black has taken the most southerly route.
Green Dragon’s tactics are being partially controlled by the 200,000 players in the Volvo Ocean Race online game. Every 12 hours during this leg, the virtual skippers in the race are sent a poll from Green Dragon. It includes a description of their current situation, such as details on weather conditions, boat condition and the crew, as well as an outlook for the next 24/26/48/72 hours. Each poll includes at least three options for the Green Dragon crew to take. Green Dragon can then, at the discretion of skipper Ian Walker or navigator Ian Moore, follow the guidance of the online community. If the team decides not to take the advice, they will send an explanation to the gaming community for their reasoning.
Late last night, Ian Walker sent his second question to be polled by the gaming community. The first one received over 10,000 votes. “It will be fascinating to see how the gaming community’s choices compare with the decisions Ian Moore and I make onboard,” he said.
Right from the start, and throughout the first night, fog has been causing some anxious moments in the fleet. In the first hour of the leg, immediately after the start inside Boston Harbour, a huge tanker loomed out of the mist, straight into the path of the racing fleet.
“When there were only a couple of minutes left to the mark, we suddenly saw an enormous tanker coming out from the mist and steering straight towards us. It was surrounded by police boats with screaming sirens and I think the captain was pretty irritated when we tacked straight in front of the ship to quickly go around the mark,” explained MCM Gustav Morin onboard Ericsson 3.
Fog is one of the worst hazards at sea and it means constant radar watch. However, radar does not pick up the dozens of lobster pots, which littered the area just after the fleet set out into the open ocean, and in his first 20 minutes on deck, Neal McDonald from Green Dragon had to avoid 15 of them.
At just after midnight GMT, Ericsson 3 was again reporting very dense fog. “We had Magnus Olsson on the bow looking for crossing boats sailing out of the channel,” explained navigator Aksel Magdahl.
While onboard Telefónica Blue, skipper Bouwe Bekking described a near miss with a powerboat just after the start, which came with centimetres of the blue boat. “It could have been very ugly,” Bekking said.
Sistership Telefónica Black passed very close to some fishing boats. “They suddenly appear on the radar screen, but are well hidden in the fog,” wrote navigator Roger Nilson, who went on to explain that fog is common in this part of the world as the warm, southerly winds spread over the cold water. “Probably the fog will stay until after the Grand Banks, where the water will be warmer due to the Gulf Stream,” he said.
Leg Seven Day 2: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
1. PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) DTF 2513 nm
2. Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) +1
3. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +1
4. Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +1
5. Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +2
6. Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermúdez/ESP) +7
7. Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +11
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS
Race reports are issued daily to the media at 1300 GMT by email; however, positions are updated every three hours on www.volvooceanrace.org where you will also find the latest news, feature stories, images and video. Full press information can be read and downloaded from: http://press.volvooceanrace.org
For media information on the Volvo Ocean Race, please contact:
Lizzie (Green) Ward – Senior Race Press Officer (Race HQ – UK)
Tel: +44 1489 554 832: Mob: +44 7801 185 320
Email: lizzie.ward@VolvoOceanRace.org
Sophie Luther – International Press Officer
Mob: +44 7595 116 797
Email: Sophie.luther@volvooceanrace.org
High resolution images can be downloaded from: http://images.volvooceanrace.org
Tim Stonton, Picture Desk Manager Email: images@VolvoOceanRace.org
Tel: +44 1489 554 867 Mob: +44 7816 975 355
For broadcast-standard video, please go to: www.thenewsmarket.com
If you are a first-time user, please take a moment to register.
For assistance, please Email: journalisthelp@thenewsmarket.com
For all radio reports/interviews audio requests, please contact:
Guy Swindells (English)
Mob: +44 7710 295 995, Email: guy.swindells@VolvoOceanRace.org or
Amanda Blackley (English, Spanish and French)
Mob: +44 7548 543 215, Email: amanda.blackley@VolvoOceanRace.org

Telefónica Black Leg Seven Day 2 QFB: received 17.05.09 0936 GMT
Posted: 17 May 2009 01:36 AM PDT
Now at 0800 GMT 17 May, we are reaching with full main, Genoa 2 and staysail. It is a cold night, water temp 6.8 Celsius. Thankful that our newly installed heater is doing a great job!
We can see four boats to leeward as the earlier thick fog has decided to lift for a moment. The wind comes from South at 20 knots and we should be at the south west corner of Nova Scotia in three hours.
The start of this leg was great, we got to Deer Island in second place, close behind Telefónica Blue, after passing through the shallow North Cannel, north east of Castle Island. In thick fog we sailed, for a short time with only one meter of water under the keel.
The wind was more left than predicted, almost north east, which meant we could pass Deer Island on one tack from the Constitution mark. After Deer Island, we tacked north and got lifted, as the wind went east, to course for Cape Ann. At the position report 1900 we were in the lead!
A short joy as at 2015 GMT we found some water coming in around the keel and we promptly slowed down. After a good investigation and tightening the seal around the top of the keel box, we could continue at full speed. Unfortunately we lost our lead and in total about three nm. We could see Telefónica Blue and PUMA screaming by, very close in the fog as we dropped our speed. After two hours work from David Vera, we were racing full on again.
It looks like a long starboard reach towards the ice box, with lighter winds as we come east. It will be a tough fight for the scoring gate a bit west of the ice box.
We need to keep a sharp lookout on the radar screen as we have already been very close to some fishing boats. They suddenly appear on the radar screen but are well hidden in the fog. The fog is common here as warm southerly winds spread over the cold water. Probably the fog will stay until after Grand Banks where the water will be warmer due to the Gulf Stream.
After Grand Banks, where ice is spotted south of our limitation at 43 north, we need to negotiate a high pressure and the game will turn into more running than reaching. ETA Galway perhaps as late as 25-26 May.
All well onboard the Black boat this cold, foggy night…
Roger Nilson – navigator

Telefónica Blue Leg Seven Day 1 QFB: received 17.05.09 0328 GMT
Posted: 16 May 2009 07:28 PM PDT
An exciting start yesterday and we did it well, leading at every mark in the harbour. But then the thick fog rolled in, and pretty soon we were on our own.
Nearly crashed into power boat, which came in 90 degrees on our course, we think there weren’t more than a couple of centimetres in between us; it could have been very ugly.
After that we have seen nothing other than fog. We know from the position reports that we have been going all right, and holding a small lead. We have already passed the most northern point of whale exclusion zone and we are heading out to the Atlantic. It is a bit nippy on deck, so the first gloves have appeared and everybody is wearing their woollen hat.
Boston was an excellent stopover, everything was perfect. Thanks Joe Fallon, Peter Craig and all the volunteers for this memorable stopover.
Bouwe Bekking – skipper

Ericsson 3 Leg Seven Day 2 QFB: received 17.05.09 0146 GMT
Posted: 16 May 2009 05:46 PM PDT
“Finally!” we thought, when we succeeded with the port start and got away with a pretty good position. It was a bit of a daring manoeuvre, but we got away with it in a very nice way.
Unfortunately we couldn’t be happy for very long. A few minutes after the signal we got the signal for restart.
The racecourse was very tight and located just outside the race village, so everyone could watch the action from pretty close. Many spectator boats were out and in total I think we put on quite a show.
The second time we went for a more traditional start on starboard tack. We were pretty good in the beginning but an unfavourable shift made it hard for us on the first beat and we were sixth at the top rounding. Even so we will never forget that rounding.
At this time a thick fog had swept in over Boston and the visibility was more than poor. When there were only a couple of minutes left to the mark we suddenly saw an enormous tanker coming out from the mist and steering straight towards us. It was surrounded by police boats with screaming sirens and I believe the captain was pretty irritated when we tacked straight in front of the ship to quickly come around the mark.
Delta Lloyd tried to sneak in in front of us but we closed the gap and they had to sail around the ship before they could hoist. It felt pretty edgy to tack in front of an enormous ship coming in 10 knots. But we got away with it. Magnus Olsson thought it was really cool and laughed about the whole situation.
Currently we are in fourth position. It is already very cold outside and the mist doesn’t make that part better. We have been doing 24 knots at max so far and it seems like the wind will increase soon. We are looking ahead of a pretty rough night….
Gustav Morin – MCM

Ericsson 3 Leg Seven Day 2 QFB: received 17.05.09 0029 GMT
Posted: 16 May 2009 04:29 PM PDT
What a crazy start today! Suddenly at the first mark, there was a huge ship coming out of the fog only boat lengths away, with plenty of police boats and tugs. I did not really react to the sirens at first as there were so many spectator boats. We just snuck in ahead of it while Delta Lloyd had to sail around it. Very unfortunate for them, but they came back and passed us shortly after.
That makes me think of an old sailing computer game, where the main obstacle in the middle of the match races were ships driving through the racing course. We just had to laugh at it today, really. It was too crazy. Sure the captain of the gas tanker did not laugh as much, he probably had no idea there was a big race going on before we came out of the fog ahead of him.
The fog is THICK. We had Magnus in the bow looking for crossing boats sailing out of the channel. At one stage we were in the wind shadow of another boat without being able to see it. So we keep a constant radar watch.
Boston was really nice to us, thank you to everyone who has showed interest, and especially all the American Ericsson 3 fans! It is so fun to be called by name by people we have never met before and randomly run into at a restaurant, the street or in the race village.
Nice to head off again with no trouble, the boat is in top shape, once again many thanks to our shore crew!
We have sailed for about two hours, and Gustav is already asleep by his computer on the beanbag. Everything normal.
Best from all on E3
Aksel Magdahl – navigator

Green Dragon Leg Seven Day One QFB: received 16.05.09 2226 GMT
Posted: 16 May 2009 02:26 PM PDT
It was with some sadness that we left Fan Pier in Boston. What a fantastic city and I am already looking forward to returning there soon. Unfortunately that is the nature of the Volvo Ocean race. No sooner have you made new friends than you must say your farewells.
It has been an exciting week for our team as we have signed a new partnership with BWIN and United Games for us to communicate directly with those who play the Volvo Game online.
I have just sent my second question to be polled by the gaming community – the first one received over 10,000 votes which is incredible. It will be fascinating to see how the gaming community’s choices compare with the decisions Ian Moore and I make onboard. Let’s hope we don’t get it wrong too often!
We made a good start again in Boston and enjoyed the two lap course in front of the city. I only hope the fog wasn’t too bad for everyone ashore to enjoy the spectacle. It was quite bizarre losing sight of everything as visibility dropped to less than 100 metres. I suspect this will be a recurring theme of the next week as moist air from the South cools over the very cold water we will be sailing through and forms dense fog. I think fog is one of the worst hazards at sea and for Ian or I. It will mean 24 hour radar watch. Radar doesn’t help much with lobster pots though so we will need a bit of Irish luck to help out there. Neal McDonald had to avoid 15 lobster pots in the first 20 minutes of his shift steering earlier today, which doesn’t bode well for tonight.
Talking of Irish Luck how can I not mention our terrific send off? The Mayor of Galway came over to send us on our way and we were treated to fantastic Irish singing and dancing. The Green Dragon is on its way home and we cannot wait to sail once again into the beautiful waters of Galway Bay.
Ian Walker – skipper