Friday, 17 April 2009

VOR: DELTA LLOYD LEG SIX DAY 6 QFB: received 16.04.09 0824 GMT

Delta Lloyd Boat Captain Nick Bce fixes a gage on the primary winch, on leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. Image copyright Sander Pluijm/Team Delta Lloyd/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Wouter Verbraak (navigator)

Fernando within reaching distance

‘Eight knots guys, all weight forward.’ When we hear this call on the Team Delta Lloyd boat, we know we are in trouble. We love our boat dearly, but she doesn’t like it very much when winds drop below the nine knot mark. Her rather big bum is starting to glue to the water, so we have to help her with all means possible to lift her up again.

It means our usual coal mine labour downstairs with dragging the 1000 kg of food, spares, boots and foul weather gear forward. Laboursome for sure, but worth it, because the reward is a precious few tenths more boat speed. We are in desperate need of this to cross the light wind patch of the east tip of Brazil near Recife. To the north stronger winds are awaiting us, and get to these first and you can make a jump on the fleet.

The rubber band effect as usual is doing its job too. Yesterday afternoon we could see both Telefónica Blue and Telefónica Black behind us as the fleet got compressed. A painful six hours and we were out, but not fully undamaged. Ericsson 4 did well out of it all. We need to work even more on our light wind pace, especially as we know this is were our lady’s weak point lies.

Since the light patch we have been making our planned move west to set up for more lifted winds later today. Now we have found our friends (but mostly rivals) on Ericsson 4, and are charging along side by side towards the scoring gate. Two hundred nm to go and the battle for second place is all on. Two sisters fighting it out mile by mile, every tenth of a knot of boat speed is counting. The younger sister might have a nice set of wheels, but the older sister is well tuned with more than a full lap around the planet behind her. The trimming on Team Delta Lloyd is non-stop as we are trying to squeeze everything out of the old Lady. It will be an exciting day to Fernando the Noronha; she is truly within reaching distance. Looking forward to crossing the gate!

Volvo Ocean Race

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