Tuesday, 3 March 2009

VOR: Day 17 - Less than 500 Miles to the Scoring Gate for Green Dragon

Green Dragon's skipper, Ian Walker (above) works out a passage past the Fijian islands with navigator, Wouter Verbraak (below). Images copyright Guo Chan/Green Dragon.

by Lucy Harwood

Another 24 hours have passed and the sea remains calm and the wind moderate. The fleet, with PUMA in front, is halfway between Fiji and the top of New Zealand fighting for every metre as they head toward the first of two scoring gates of this leg. The gate is located at 36 degrees south and marks the start of the Southern Ocean. At that point, the boats will have already sailed about 6,000 miles with another 6,300 miles to go around Cape Horn and onto Rio.

Green Dragon was this morning only 39 miles way from the leader, PUMA, and the latest position report (1300 GMT) shows that distance has been reduced to 34 miles.

At 10:00 ZULU this morning, Volvo expert Mark Chisnell reports: “Everyone was sailing downwind, just to the west of the Kermadec Islands. The spinnakers were up in anger for the first time since Singapore. The breeze was a light, ten knot north-northeasterly, with PUMA, Ericsson 4 and Ericsson 3 in a tight bunch. Telefónica Blue and Green Dragon were about 40 miles to the north-west, where they had a slightly more easterly breeze, leading to some recent gains. The focus was very much on the points available at the scoring gate, now less than 500 miles to the south”.

Quote from the boat:
“We have had no broadband for two days and do not look like having any for another few days as we are in the black spot between 180 and 179W. In fact, we have been sailing straight down it! It’s very pleasant if a little slow sailing right now. We are going to have to sail a long way round a high pressure system to get to the first ice gate. Looks like we will be kissing the NZ coast.” – Skipper Ian Walker.

Leg Five Day 17: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)

PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) DTF 7,578 nm
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +2
Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +9
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +24
Green Dragon IRL/CHI (Ian Walker/GBR) +34

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

Green Dragon
Volvo Ocean Race

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