Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Sunlight on the water, as seen from Green Dragon in the Atlantic Ocean. Image copyright Green Dragon Racing team.
by Lucy Harwood
The pace is staying up across the fleet as they continue the drag race north in 20 plus knot reaching conditions. The chasing pack is whittling Telefónica Blue’s lead down, as she sails into a ridge of high pressure. It is clear that is not just a case of the boats behind sailing faster but of Telefónica Blue slowing down. They are now holding a 60 mile lead, 40 miles less than their advantage 12 hours ago. The pressure will be on the Spaniards as they watch the impact the compression will have on their lead over the next 24 hours.
Tactical options are limited over the next few days, as the fleet continue northwest, sail changes are virtually non-existent and it is now about putting the pedal down and covering miles. The three boats fighting it out for the tops spots, PUMA, Ericsson 3 and Ericsson 4 are all spread east to west across the race course. Torben Grael has chosen the most eastern route, the Nordics have taken the middle road and PUMA are hanging out to the west. Ian Walker and his crew are sticking close to PUMA’s line and the remaining boats, Delta Lloyd and Telefónica Black stay further out to the east.
Volvo’s race expert Mark Chisnell commented on the forecast ahead, “there are some serious gains and losses to be made, no more flat, even curves progressing steadily north-westwards. The routing has Telefónica Blue making huge gains on the run in. Things are about to get interesting. However, the five-day forecast is really unstable at the moment, so we’ll hold off a day or two before we get too fired up about the final 1,000 miles.”
Leg Six Day 10: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
1. Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) DTF 2,027 nm
2. Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +61 nm
3. PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +61 nm
4. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +67 nm
5. Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) +100 nm
6. Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermúdez/ESP) +109 nm
7. Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +131 nm
8. Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS
Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race