Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009 Update

Another extreme event is in the happening right now. Who of you out there are keeping an eye on the Volvo Ocean Race – the 37,000-mile race? Well, there’s been some explosive action, but more on that in a moment – the current position of the fleet of 8 is:

Leg One Day 12: 1300 GMT Positions

1 Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) DTF 3612
2 PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) 30
3 Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) 33
4 Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) 64
5 Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) 138
6 Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders Lewander/SWE) 183
7 Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) 205
8 Delta Lloyd IRL (Ger O’Rourke/IRL) 223

So back to the ‘explosive action’… this was before the 37,000-mile race had even begun!

A collision in the second warm-up race in Alicante saw Team Russia and Delta Lloyd both holed close to the waterline. Meanwhile, Ericsson 4 helmsman, Tony Mutter, was evacuated by helicopter for treatment to a knee infection – and is now sitting in Cape Town waiting for the race to catch up with him so he can rejoin it again!

In the subsequent races, Telefonica Blue had been doing brilliantly until, just before the main race, they had an enforced rudder repair stop.

With the rest of the VOR fleet now Atlantic Ocean bound on the first 6,000-mile leg to Cape Town, Telefonica Blue set off in hot pursuit. 10 days into the first leg, Blue had caught up to fifth, with Green Dragon narrowly leading the fleet, but when they hit the notorious doldrums all 8 boats were struggling…

They have now finally cleared the painful drifting in the Doldrums, and are gathering speed in the south-easterly trade winds with Green Dragon still in the lead.

She is now sailing fast and straight for the islands, reaping the rewards of the westerly position the team opted for four days ago. Bouwe Bekking from the Netherlands, in charge of Telefónica Blue, observed: “We all know by now that the west paid off hugely, but probably the best route has been by Telefónica Black. They will make some good gains on the leaders in the next 36 hours.” Telefónica Black is now only 64 nautical miles from Green Dragon whilst Blue is disappointed about their own position. “Of course we are not happy. We would have liked to be more west, but missed the boat, literally, when we parked up,” Bekking said.

From onboard seventh-placed Team Russia, (Andreas Hanakamp/Austria), Telefónica Blue’s situation looks rather enviable. “During the Doldrums we lost an awful amount of miles to our opponents. The worst example is Telefónica Blue who was 140 miles behind us and now is ahead. That should not be possible. Even Green Dragon was very far behind and now they are in the lead,” grumbled Gustav Morin.

At 13:00 GMT yesterday, the average boat speed was up to around 12 knots with Telefónica Blue and Ericsson 3 both averaging 12.8 knots. The position of the fleet has remained stable for 24 hours, and Green Dragon has clocked the highest 24-hour run of 254 nm. The team has 253 nm to run until she reaches Fernando de Noronha, which will take them about 24 hours if they maintain the current speeds.

Another extreme racing event for us to keep our eye on over the next few months…

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