Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Telefonica Black going 25 knots, on leg 9 from Marstrand to Stockholm. Image copyright Anton Paz/Telefonica Black/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Roger Nilson (navigator)
Right now Telefónica Black is 12 nm due south of Trelleborg, a little town on the Swedish south coast. We rounded the south west corner of Sweden, Falsterbo Rev, in third place, a few hundred metres ahead of Ericsson 3. The westerly breeze picked up and we were not surprised to see Ericsson 3 pulling away from us, as we now are running instead of reaching as earlier today...
One weather model makes us run to Olands Sodra Udde and then reach home fast, to finish evening. The other model is a bit more complex with little wind around Gotland tomorrow and arrival in Sandhamn early morning Tuesday.
The race had a soft start with light breeze and choppy seas, partly because a large armada of spectator boats.
When we had made our little loop on Marstrandsfjorden, the fleet set off close to the coast, even inside some islands and rocks. We were in 5th place with only Delta Lloyd and Ericsson 4 behind. Telefónica Blue was leading and, at the small island Bussholmen, they had to choose going inside or outside some skerries further south. Our plan was going outside as we thought the slowly increasing westerly breeze would be stronger further off the coast.
Suddenly we could see Telefónica Blue running around, in front and a bit to leeward of us. One boat close behind her turned more west fast and we continued our planned more westerly track with the rest of the fleet. A very tragic incident but luckily no one was hurt, but the surely the boat went back to Marstrand to be hauled out. I think we all felt a shaken up of this incident and realise how easy things can turn from good to bad.
The wind picked up fast from West North West and we had a very fast passage down to Oresund, The Sound, between Sweden and Denmark. Telefónica Black impressed by keeping Ericsson 3 behind, but we had to accept that Ericsson 4 and Puma were a bit faster. It has been all about speed from Marstrand all the way so far as the strategic alternatives have been very limited. It could be some kind of mono hull record as we sailed from Marstrand to Helsingborg, the beginning of The Sound, in only six hours! 120 nm in 6 hours, not slow...
Volvo Ocean Race