Monday, 13 April 2009
Delta Lloyd, skippered by Roberto Bermudez (ESP) at the start of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Diana Bogaards
On Saturday April 11 2009, renewed Team Delta Lloyd (NED) commenced at the sixth Volvo Ocean Race leg to Boston/USA. Encouraged by a large spectator fleet, the seven VO70's started at 3 pm local time in Rio de Janeiro. After having completed a sausage on the Guanabara Bay at the foot of the Sugar Loaf Mountain and a mark rounding off the Copacabana beach, the competitors slowly headed to the open sea. There was a breeze of only 5-10 knots, with a strong adverse current and high swell. This leg is expected to take about 16 days.
On the starting line, Team Delta Lloyd fell behind in the bad air of Green Dragon and Puma. The Dutch entry extended the gap by putting in an extra tack on the first beat, but she caught up again between the islands at the Sugar Loaf Mountain. Telefonica Black leaded the pack out of Rio.
The beginning of leg six will be dominated by light air and a big swell. Shore navigator Frits Koek (NED) expects the wind to drop to 2 knots around midnight with a 4 meter swell: "That is going to be tough without pressure in the sails." Skipper Roberto Bermúdez de Castro (ESP): "We will try to stick with the fleet in the first few days in variable, light winds and many clouds. It's difficult for us to defend ourselves in those conditions."
Bermúdez de Castro expects the beginning of leg 6 to be risky: "The first challenge we are facing, is how to get out of Rio and pass Cape Frio to go north. There is a high-pressure system building above us, so the breeze will drop. The large amount of oil platforms presents another challenge." Navigator Wouter Verbraak (NED) and Bermúdez de Castro need to decide on going inshore along the Brazilian coast or more offshore towards Cabo Frio. "It looks like we go inshore", said Verbraak before leaving the dock.
After Cape Frio, the fleet will pick up the east-southeast trade wind on its way to the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha. That means reaching conditions, while surfing down the waves. Verbraak: "After the Cape, we have to decide on the next tactical choice of how far we are going offshore. We think of going a bit further out, since the wind might be light along the coast and there will be showers. The risk is bigger."
Fit and motivated
It forces the Today's return to the ocean feels like a re-start in the Volvo Ocean Race for skipper Roberto Bermúdez de Castro (ESP) and his crew. "We had a great In-Port weekend and we had more time to prepare than the other teams, which is an advantage", said Bermúdez de Castro. The Delta Lloyd left the dock with a new bow, a new Southern Spars mast, seven new North Sails and four new sailors. The crew is fit and eager to fight for points "Our objective is to battle the other boats on the same level."
In addition to title sponsor Delta Lloyd, the Dutch/Irish syndicate is also supported by Chieftain Group, Tommy Hilfiger, OHRA Verzekeringen, Port of Rotterdam, Discovery Channel, Weather News and Hemels van der Hart.
Team Delta Lloyd
Volvo Ocean Race