Friday, 27 February 2009

VOR: The Reshuffle Continues

by Lucy Harwood

The fleet have been playing snakes and ladders today as they continue to re-shuffle in the current conditions. Telefonica Blue made the biggest gains of the day as they found themselves within 23 miles of Ericsson 4 this morning and sitting in second place. They have continued to switch places with PUMA throughout the day, but by 1300 GMT PUMA were second once again and Telefonica Blue were forced to hold onto fourth. Elsewhere Green Dragon continues to close the gap and they are now just 65 miles from the leaders.

Life onboard Green Dragon has changed dramatically in the last week, conditions have shifted from the intense cold and wet as they raced on port tack out of China and past Japan, to living in the hot, sticky and uncomfortable conditions as they continue to race south of the equator. The focus ahead is Fiji (approximately 500 miles to the south east), and the question of which way to go remains, east or west? Green Dragon continues to hold an easterly track as they charge south with the rest of the fleet. The biggest questions for the Dragon will be if they have enough leverage to make their easterly course pay dividends.

As Green Dragon’s navigator Wouter pointed out this week, ”We have so far chosen the more conservative easterly route. It already gave us stronger winds and a better wind angle in the NE trades, and a swift doldrums crossing. Now with the southerly route blocked we have a great chance to cut the corner and get back in touch with the fleet too! The reverse isochrones (lines of equal time to the mark) to Fiji are actually showing us ahead of the fleet. We will be modest and happy with being in touch with the fleet near Fiji”.

Volvo Race expert Mark Chisnell believes the Dragon’s easterly position will pay off, “Aboard Ericsson 4, Torben Grael and his team were keeping it characteristically tight, they were once again solidly positioned about 20 miles due south of the chasing pair of Ericsson 3 and PUMA, whose own see-saw battle is rapidly acquiring classic status. And all the time the Dragon hovered in the wings, stage right, ready to swoop down for the kill – there will be blood on the beaches of Fiji!”


Officially the Republic of the Fiji Islandsis an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean east of Vanuatu, west of Tonga and south of Tuvalu. The country occupies an archipelago of about 322 islands, of which 106 are permanently inhabited, and 522 islets. The islands are mountainous, with peaks up to 1,300 metres (4,250 ft), and covered with tropical forests. Viti Levu hosts the capital city of Suva, and is home to nearly three quarters of the population.

Leg Five Day 12: 1600 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) DTF 8, 376 nm
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +20
Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +23
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +33
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +65

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

Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

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