Monday, 20 April 2009

VOR: ERICSSON 3 LEG SIX DAY 9 QFB: received 19.04.09 0902 GMT

Ericsson 3 chase down Telefonica Black, on leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. Image copyright Gustav Morin/Ericsson 3/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Aksel Magdahl (navigator)

Finally we are off and Boston looks much closer. Sailing to the scoring gate was nice, but the racing was boring. Maybe because we were not at the front.

We could not pass Puma on speed before the scoring gate, so we tried a flyer and lost a bit. After Fernando we picked our angles well to regain contact with the lead boats. Do not even count in Telefónica Blue as they are only a weather buoy to us at the moment. Funny to see how for once the fleet spread out when no one knew what the others were going to do - a pity for the navigators that we have the three-hourly position reports, or the fleet would have spread out much more.

We have done really well today, slowly gaining on everyone. We even gained on Ericsson 4, something almost unheard of. But we know well what sails to use and have set the boat up nicely. We also have very strong helmsmen and trimmers who can tweak a few tenths of a knot extra out of the boat.

Even with Magnus out of the watch system, we have four primary helmsmen in the rotation. These boats do not go fast by themselves - the crew makes a big difference. And through the race, we have become a much stronger team in all areas.

Also, we communicate well about what angles to sail. We are sailing about 20 degrees off course as the boat is much faster at a wider wind angle. So all the time, we work on whether we make most miles towards Boston by sailing a bit faster and further off course, or point more for Boston and sail slower.

Still a long way to go and we are very close with Ericsson 4, Puma and Telefónica Black. It is likely to get a little complicated a few days up the Atlantic road, so we try to stay sharp and anticipate the development in the weather systems.

Light wind means maintenance time. Anders Dahlsjö and Jens Dolmer used the Doldrums to repair the water ballast tank which was making a nice fountain in the aft compartment, to have it ready for the power reaching we are doing at the moment.

Martin Krite has done some replacements in the rig. On my area, the navigation systems, there has not been anything to do on this leg thanks to nice work by Ricka and Hutch in our shore team. And that really applies to the rest of the boat as well - very well prepared.

Volvo Ocean Race

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