Friday, 6 March 2009

VOR: Green Dragon - From South to North, Leg 5 Day 20

Wet 'n wild on the Dragon. Image copyright Guo Chan/Green Dragon Racing.

by Lucy Harwood

If yesterday Ericsson 3 made the brave move to point their bow north, today the whole fleet, except Telefónica Blue, has made the same move in order to avoid the ridge of high pressure, which is blocking the way to the strong westerly winds in the south.

Andy McLean, originally from Wellington, thinks wistfully of New Zealand as Green Dragon passes Fiji. Image copyright Guo Chan/Green Dragon Racing.

Looking ahead, the next mark of the course are the two ice gates located southeast of New Zealand at 47 degrees south between the longitudes of 155 west and 140 west. The second gate is set approximately 1,500 nm west of Chile at 45 degrees south between 120 west and 105 west. With 6,600 miles still to go to Rio the Dragon are hoping the second half of this leg is going to be faster than the first. They only have food provisions for 40 day and 20 have already gone and they are not quite half way as yet.

Phil Harmer speaking today from the boat told how shorts have given way to full wet weather gear in the last 24hrs. “The temperature dramatically dropped yesterday just as we were getting used to the warm conditions around Fiji. As we headed further south, temperatures dropped in a matter of hours and we quickly went from tee-shirts and shorts to full wet weather gear. The more you think about it, the more you realise that we’re half way there. First was the Fiji, second the scoring gate. Now we have the first ice gate to look forward to, then another one, then we are into the Horn and finally in Rio. Breaking it up keeps you motivated to keep pushing forward. Everybody is looking forward to the next 3,000 nm”.

Grinding is one way to stay warm when it gets wet and cold on deck! Image copyright Guo Chan/Green Dragon Racing.

Green Dragon’s navigator, Ian Moore, who is currently in the UK, has been monitoring progress. “There are going to be less options for the boats that take a southerly route to get back to the ice gate, so I am pleased to see Green Dragon heading to pack to the north”.

Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

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