Tuesday, 16 June 2009

VOR: DELTA LLOYD LEG NINE DAY 2 QFB: received 15.06.09 1142 GMT

Onboard Delta Lloyd, at the start of leg 9 from Marstrand to Stockholm. Image copyright Sander Pluijm/Team Delta Lloyd/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Sander Pluijm

Well, it’s was really great to see so many people come to this little island to see the starts, beyond expectations I must say. I don't think I ever seen so many spectator-boats on the water during this race so far. As far as the eye could see there were boats, a magnificent view! Thanks Marstrand for that complete relaxed pit-stop and fantastic goodbye.

We had a great start, right behind Puma on the mark. But then after half a mile we ended up in a wind-hole and got parked up completely. We got totally stuck there, right in the middle of the track! 'So much for a great start', Gerd-Jan Poortman said. Even the Green Dragons, who had a terrible start, passed us.

Most of the guys were lying on the deck to push the bow down while the sails were flapping. Andre Fonseca, our tactician did whatever he could to get us out of that miserable windless place.

When we finally found some breeze, we had to fight Telefónica Black for the sixth place at the top mark. We had the right of way, they didn't give to us, so we waved the red flag, but they took the buoy first.

Not much later, Telefónica Blue hit the rocks. Our crew was so to say 'pretty shaken up'. Everybody saw what happened and everyone knows that if you hit the rocks with 45 kilometres an hour it’s like driving a car into the wall - a direct full stop can make you fly through the boat from stern to bow... so everybody was mainly concerned with the guys and we were happy to hear there were no injuries and everybody is fine.

The first eight hours were fantastic sailing! 23 knots reaching and pretty soon we had the Green Dragons and the Ericssons behind us. But then, later on, we made a mistake with taking the A2-spinaker down. It got stuck behind the mainsail and took us a while to undo it. That cost us our gain and we were at the back of the pack, not good for moral I can say...

Chuny (Roberto Bermúdez) and Wouter (Verbraak) decided last night, when we had to go round the Swedish corner, to go as far south as possible. This gave us the extra breeze we needed. And this morning we kept sailing as much easterly of the fleet as we could, hoping to find more breeze. And so far they have been right. We are still moving fast and with 150 miles to go we are aiming for the podium, although we are not sure if the bold move to leave the pack will pay...

We'll see when we get to Stockholm in a half a day, unless we get stuck in a wind hole again....

Volvo Ocean Race

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