Monday, 16 February 2009
PUMA was the initial leader on Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, but has now been overtaken by Ericsson 4. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Volvo Ocean Race media
The first-night nerves have been banished as the fleet continues to pound south-east towards the southern tip of Japan, propelled by north-easterly winds of 20 knots.
Ericsson 4 really has the hammer down as witnessed by a maximum boat speed of 34 knots and a 24-hour run of 502 nautical miles.
By the 17:00 GMT Position Report, Ericsson 4’s lead over second-placed PUMA stood at 29 nautical miles.
Green Dragon, 10 miles behind the cat, has positioned itself more easterly in the past 12 hours. On the Race Data Centre there is a clear and present danger for Ian Walker’s men – Ericsson 3.
Ericsson 3 off China. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.
Green Dragon’s cushion to E3 and its grip on third place is becoming increasingly tenuous. Despite giving the fleet a healthy head start, Magnus Olsson’s Nordic crew are now just three miles behind the Dragon and closing.
Meanwhile Telefonica Blue, delayed by 19 hours due to keel damage at the pre-start in Qingdao Harbour, is a further 170 miles back and making hay while the winter sun shines. Which is not often.
The crews have settled into racing mode on board, according to PUMA’s Media Crew Member Rick Deppe.
"As first nights at sea go, the one coming out of Quingdao was actually quite pleasant,” he wrote. It was cold but luckily the seas were flat and we had no water coming over the decks.
"This morning the breeze has built and its still cold but not quite as bad as last night. We are sailing through a fleet of Chinese fishing boats, they appear to be working in pairs steaming in the same direction about 200 metres apart and dragging a net between the two boats and its difficult to judge how much distance is required to safely take their stern.
"One suggestion on deck was that we may have passed through a current line thereby explaining the fishing boats and the slight temperature increase.”
Volvo Ocean Race