Thursday, 19 March 2009

VOR: Day 33 - Turning the Corner

Green Dragon. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing.

by Lucy Harwood

Today was a momentous day onboard Green Dragon as they rounded Cape Horn at 0215 GMT last night, for many of the crew it was their first time round this famous landmark as they join a special group of sailors who have accomplished this feat. Ericsson 3 took the honours crossing the scoring gate first and securing top points; this has now moved them ahead of the Dragon on the overall leader board, by just one point. But this leg is far from over and with just under 2000 miles to go Green Dragon will be pushing hard to make up some ground on the Nordic crew, “they haven’t beaten us to Rio yet,“ commented Ian Walker last night.

Cape Horn Scoring Gate
1. Ericsson 3 – 12:22 GMT: 4 points
2. Ericsson 4 – 14:48 GMT 3.5 points
3. PUMA – 20:46 GMT 3 points
4. Green Dragon - 02:15 GMT 2.5 points

Yesterday was also a special day onboard for this distinctly Irish entry as they celebrated St Patrick’s Day. Due to some extreme weather conditions, the weather took priority over the Guinness but they were all glad to pass the Horn and turn the corner to start heading north to Rio. “Nobody will mind turning north as the temperature will start to rise as the weather gets better!” reported Ian Walker from onboard last night.

For the fleet heading north the next obstacle on the radar will be the Falkland Islands and the route they will take. The first three boats are likely to head, “between the islands and mainland South America. They are holding the westerly breeze feeding between the top of the low pressure they’ve just left behind to the south, and a small high pressure to their north,” commented Volvo Race Expert Mark Chisnell.

The route the Dragon will take is yet to be seen, Bouwe Bekking onboard Telefonica Blue felt that Ian Walker and his crew may, “go wide around the Falklands, and maybe keep better breeze than the leaders. They have nothing to lose, so I expect something in that direction”. Only time will tell as the countdown to Rio begins and temperatures start to rise!

Le Maire Strait
The Le Maire Strait (Estrecho de le Maire) is a sea passage between Isla de los Estados and the eastern extremity of the Argentine portion of Tierra del Fuego. Jacob Le Maire and Willem Schouten discovered the strait in 1616, while attempting to find a navigation link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and shortly before their discovery of Cape Horn. The strait was named in honor of Le Maire. The Magellanic Penguin is found in the Le Maire Strait; this penguin has a breeding colony on Isla de los Estados.

Leg Five Day 33: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)

Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) DTF 1, 872 nm
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +45
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +171
Green Dragon IRL/CHI (Ian Walker/GBR) +246
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +772

Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermudez/ESP) DNS
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) DNS
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS

Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

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