by Lucy Harwood
The fleet set sail today for Leg 10 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008/09. It is the final leg of a 37,000 mile journey around the planet. It was an early start for the crews as they left the dock in Stockholm in front of a large crowd at 0730 local time (GMT +2). The seven boats motored for several hours to reach the start line off Sandhamn a small Island in the Swedish archipelago. Team Russia who arrived late on Tuesday afternoon will sail with the fleet to Russia but not as part of the race, and will just shadow the fleet to St. Petersburg.
Racing kicked off at 1400 with a perfect 10 – 12 knot breeze. PUMA, Telefonica Blue and Ericsson 4 had the best start off the line, with Green Dragon chasing hard behind Ericsson 4 as they approached the first mark. The Dragon made gains on the first run and slipped inside to take third place as they rounded the mark. Flat water and a stable breeze meant prefect conditions for the fleet to stretch their legs and power up over the short start course.
Ken Read and his crew who are now assured a second place overall in the race, took control and charged out into open water after leading the fleet round both buoys before heading to out to sea. Telefonica Blue held second whilst Green Dragon had a strong start rolling Ericsson 4 and taking third. Ericsson 3, Telefónica Black and Delta Lloyd were left playing catch up in the second string. The good conditions for the start are not expected to last for the whole leg, as the fleet face upwind sailing for the 400 miles to Russia. Within 24 hours the breeze is expected to die and light, shifty conditions will see the fleet into the finish. Race rules allow for Race Director, Jack Lloyd, to shorten the 400-mile course if necessary. The fleet must arrive in St Petersburg on Saturday morning in order to clear customs and pass through two bridges, which will be raised specially in order to let the fleet into the historic city.
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA): 110.5 points
2. PUMA (Ken Read/USA): 98.5 points
3. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED): 92.0 points
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE): 73.5 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR): 64.0 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP): 50.0
7. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP): 39.5 points
8. Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT): 10.5 points
Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race