Saturday, 23 May 2009

VOR: DELTA LLOYD LEG SEVEN DAY 8 QFB: received 23.05.09 0916 GMT

Andre Fonseca, trimming the sheet on the jib. Image copyright Sander Pluijm/Team Delta Lloyd/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Wouter Verbraak (navigator)

Everybody is out of stealth. We are in fifth but fighting for the podium. It is so close anything can happen.

After almost seven days across the Atlantic it is going to come down to the last 24 hours. Ahead of us lies first a high speed drag race to the Aran Islands. Good sail choices and focused driving and trimming are crucial. It is all on.

The sailing continues to be fast and wet. Fortunately the waves are finally getting better, so we are not nose diving all the time. Most dominant now are the squalls. One minute we are on course ripping it, the next we are 20 degrees low and too overpowered, then 15 minutes later we are light and lifted above course. The big question: what sail to have up? Sail changes are expensive, so patience seems to be key at the moment?

Being up here, fighting for the podium, means spirits are high, the mood focused, eager and determined. The last two days have been intense, and we are all feeling the grunt of that. We have to keep pushing hard all the way to the end. This is what ocean racing is all about; the end of another marathon is drawing to a close, with it the grand slam finale right in front of Galway. Perfect!

Volvo Ocean Race

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