Saturday, 18 April 2009

VOR: Team Delta Lloyd Passes Scoring Gate in Third Position

Teamwork on board Delta Lloyd. Image copyright Sander Pluijm/Team Delta Lloyd.

by Diana Bogaards

On Thursday April 16 at 23:28 hours GMT, Team Delta Lloyd crossed the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha in third position. It was a close battle with Puma, but the Dutch entry managed to maintain her top three position at the Brazilian archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. Skipper Roberto Bermúdez de Castro (ESP) and his crew picked up three points for their efforts and they are currently still holding on to the third place. Telefonica Blue collected the maximum of four points and has a comfortable lead in this sixth leg to Boston/USA.

Skipper Bermúdez de Castro (ESP) said he is surprised by the performance of his team: "Especially because we didn't do any offshore training. Despite the lack of that specific practice, we are managing the many sail changes quite well. I am very happy with our third position at the scoring gate and with the crew. The spirit is great, so hopefully we will be able to achieve more in this leg. Our target hasn't changed. We still want to mix up in the competition and get a better result in Boston."

On Friday morning April 17, Media Crew Member Sander Pluijm (NED) reported enthusiastically on the nerve-racking final meters towards the scoring gate: "Well, it was very close, but we do have our third place, thanks to a remarkable example of ocean racing by the guys. Throughout the whole day, we have been fighting with the clouds and squalls, which resulted in many sail changes and intense sailing. Most of the times we were battling with Telefonica Black. However, Ericsson 4 took over our second position and then we had Puma in our wake. Really, the gap was only 150 meters."

Dutch navigator Wouter Verbraak about the final stages towards the scoring gate: "Telefonica Black was our biggest competitor, but at the last moment Puma has gone around the outside of a big light patch under a squall and has made huge gains. In the end, the wind shifted too much to the left for us." Although the Americans closed in fast, it was just not enough to beat the Dutch entry before the landmark off the Brazilian coast. Verbraak: "The message of our top three passage was received on deck with loud cheers, people shaking hands and jumping up and down. An excellent result for all of us here on Team Delta Lloyd. Everybody has put in 110% the last days and worked their hardest as a team. The feeling is great, especially because the result again is due to good sailing and not to luck.'

Close racing

Meanwhile, the competition remains unbelievable exciting among the fleet. Telefonica Blue extended her lead, while Puma climbed to a second position overall. Delta Lloyd is in third position, but less than a mile behind Puma and two miles ahead of Ericsson 4. Telefonica Black and Ericsson 3 follow directly. The gap between the numbers two and six is only seven miles. Delta Lloyd and Puma try their luck at the eastern side of the course towards the Doldrums. Both teams gained in the last couple of hours. The two Swedish VO70's and Telefonica Black chose the western side.

Verbraak: "The next 24 hours we can expect more cloud action as we are crossing the Doldrums to find our way to the NE trades in the northern hemisphere. We are trying to find a balance between going north and getting to the new wind first, and going lower more on course to the mark. For now we are happy to mainly work on getting to the NE trades and getting through the light and squally messy area as quick as we can."

Scoring board on April 17 2009 at 13:24 GMT:
Telefonica Blue
Puma, +63 nm
Delta Lloyd, +63 nm
Ericsson 4, +65 nm
Telefonica Black, +69 nm
Ericsson 3, +70 nm
Green Dragon, +81 nm

Team Delta Lloyd
Volvo Ocean Race

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