Wednesday, 11 March 2009

VOR: The Great North-South Divide

Green Dragon Racing. Image copyright Guo Chan/Green Dragon Racing.

by Lucy Harwood

The race to Cape Horn continues as the fleet have split and in doing so they have formed the great north south divide. Whilst Ericsson 4 and PUMA are trying to hang onto the low pressure system that has seen the young Nordic crew on Ericsson 3 steam into the lead, Green Dragon and Telefonica Blue have dived south and there now lies over 300 miles of separation from north to south between the two groups.

The Dragon has been sailing east southeast in 20 plus knots. Whilst the Dragon and Telefonica Blue took the hit after falling off the back of the low pressure system and in doing so took the dive south, Ericsson 4 and PUMA have been clinging on but this was not to last, PUMA dropped off the system this morning and they have already begun to lose miles to the Ericsson twins. How long Torben Grael and his men will be able to stay on the tail end of this system is yet to be seen.

But race forecaster Jennifer Lilly explains that the northerly boats run the risk of being eaten up by a high pressure system in the area. “The northern three teams will all see the winds decrease for Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, fading to less than 10 knots in some places. The two teams to the south are facing a different weather pattern. As a result, they are expected to continue to head south in hopes of reaching developing W’ly winds around the northern periphery of the next low. These teams will also benefit from fewer total miles, if they continue to sail at the more southerly latitudes”.

Leg Five Day 25: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)

Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) DTF 4,762 nm
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +272
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +329
Green Dragon IRL/CHI (Ian Walker/GBR) +475
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +651

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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