Tuesday, 16 June 2009

VOR: Team Delta Lloyd in Fifth Position after Tough Leg 9 Start

Delta Lloyd, skippered by Roberto Bermudez (ESP) and PUMA Ocean Racing, skippered by Ken Read (USA) at the start of leg 9 from Marstrand to Stockholm. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Diana Bogaards

Team Delta Lloyd (NED) is currently in fifth position after a tough start of leg nine to Stockholm/Sweden. At 1 pm local time, the starting gun was fired off the coast of Marstrand, for which an impressive crowd gathered on the water and the surrounding rocks. During the initial course around the cans, the wind dropped from 10-12 to about 5 knots. This in combination with a considerable swell caused difficult sailing conditions for the seven VO70s. Telefonica Blue leaded the pack into the Kattegat, until Bouwe Bekking (NED) and his crew hit a rock and had to suspend racing.

After the gun, skipper Roberto Bermúdez de Castro (ESP) carried on to the left side of the course and took advan tage of more pressure. However, the breeze continuously dropped and the Delta Lloyd parked up in a wind hole. The Dutch entry was sixth to disappear into the Kattegat.

"It is going to be a coastal race, so it is important to work with influences from shore. Especially the wind shifts play a big role", said skipper Bermúdez de Castro this morning. "It is a short distance, so it is a logical choice not to go for extreme options and wait for others to make a mistake." Bermúdez de Castro never sailed in the Scandinavian waters before, but the in Norway residing Dutch navigator Wouter Verbraak did. He competed three times in the Gotlant Run and twice in the Volvo Baltic Race. "Hopefully that gives me more local knowledge", said Verbraak.

According to shore navigator Frits Koek (NED), this leg of 525 nautical miles will take about 48 hours. The fleet will enter the Sont in the evening. This is one of busiest waterwa ys in the world and only 4,5 kilometers wide. It separates Sweden from Denmark and it connects the Kattegat with the East Sea. The VO70's will round the southern point of Sweden at about midnight. Koek: "From there they head up north along the Swedish east coast to the island Öland, which they have on the outside. They will have reaching conditions all the way up to Öland, in 20-25 knots pressure. But then the breeze will drop dramatically, which will slow down the six remaining yachts on their way to Sandham.

Koek: "There is a chance that it pays to round the island on the eastern side, as there might be more windy over there. Wouter needs to decide on this later." It is very likely that Team Delta Lloyd will finish at day time, for the first time during this Volvo Ocean Race.

Team Delta Lloyd
Volvo Ocean Race

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