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New York to Portsmouth...latest

May 17, 2006 08:42 by Volvo media | 0 comments



On Tuesday 16th at 1600GMT the order was; ABN AMRO ONE leading from Ericsson by a whopping 75 nautical miles, up from 48 at 1000GMT. Then Brasil 1 is holding on to a strong third, charging up behind Ericsson by 16 miles in the last six hours. They have lost 11 miles on the leader, but that is a much better result than any other boat. It looks like the boys in blue and yellow have got that new spinnaker working well and the boat going like a train.

Next comes Pirates, strangely lack lustre at the moment, losing 22 miles on the lead to be 143 miles behind, and losing 11 on Brasil in the process. ABN AMRO TWO is 158 miles from the lead, losing 17 on the leader and gaining five on the Pirates. Then comes Brunel at 178 from the lead and movistar at 250.


Three emails in from the boats, from Pirates, ABN AMRO TWO and from Brunel. We start with Matt Humphries, the skipper of Brunel, “After some trying upwind days and a few costly breakages, we are finally running under masthead spinnaker in cold, fresh north Atlantic conditions.

”This morning it has been a mad frenzy changing from one masthead spinnaker to the other trying to get more speed from Brunel and learning more about how to sail her, with Will (Oxley) logging all newly found information to strengthen our boat polars.

”Brunel’s new modifications mean she is a lot different to sail than the boat from Leg 1 and 2 and every minute we are uncovering new ways to get a little more speed from her. This, after all the work that was done in Mornington, Melbourne, makes us very happy! Thanks Mal Hart and the boys.

”Certainly in a couple of days we shall be finding a lot more speed as we are exposed to a passing front which shall give us wind speeds in excess of 40 knots downwind.

”At the slightest mention of this Scotty, who I have had the pleasure of racing against in five Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Races and is a hard man in the school of heavy air downhill sailing, thought Christmas was coming early and had a grin from one ear to the other – last seen going to his bunk humming (both versions)!

”I was talking to the boys on deck and we agreed that it would be nice to finish in England to a final refit then go to Vigo 3 months before the start of the race for final preparations but we are only one year too late! Never mind….. next time? We are here in a great race, fighting the best offshore sailors in the business.

”We are honoured to be here.”


Captain Cayard, in command of a boatload of lost souls aboard the Black Pearl, seems to have been enjoying himself, despite their slipping back a tiny amount, “We are setting some sort of record for the fewest miles achieved in five days in these Volvo Open 70s. We are currently 1,023 miles from New York and we have been sailing for four and a half days.

“All day Monday was spent trying to get around the high pressure cell. The wind was very light and variable, and it was a challenging day. Then in the late afternoon the wind finally built to ten knots and we thought we were out of there. Not so fast, the wind has just died again and lifted us above course.

”We are rationing our food as we only brought food for nine days on this trip. We should be ok with diesel Juggy says, so we should be able to keep the instruments going.

”We had some nice dolphin playing with us today. They were fishing when we came up on them and then they came by for a visit.

”ABN AMRO ONE has sailed a very smart leg so far. I always say it doesn’t matter where they go, but this time they definitely figured out the weather better than the rest of us.

”This is the type of weather scenario where the rich get richer for the next couple of days so ABN AMRO ONE and Ericsson should be in good shape. We are trying to stay in touch with Brasil 1 so we can try to make move on them near the end of the leg.

”Apart from the wind, the weather has improved greatly in the last 40 hours. No more fog and the air temp is up to nine degrees C. The sea is fairly smooth and we are running with a masthead gennaker.

”Really pretty nice conditions for the north Atlantic.


Finally, a very, very old Si Fi from ABN AMRO TWO, “It’s been a tough 24 hours for us here on board ABN AMRO TWO.

”I think in the space of about two scheds I aged 20 years as I watched the two boats closest to us completely blow us away in 12 hours.

”People often wonder what is the toughest part of the race, big winds, extreme cold, no sleep, crappy food? For me all of these things pale into insignificance compared to having to watch the fleet stretching out in front of you while you sit there powerless to do anything.

”It is amazing how one small table of figures can stir so much emotion – sometimes joy and excitement, but yet at the other end of the scale, extreme frustration, sadness and even anger.

”I cannot describe the gut wrenching feeling I had yesterday when I discovered Brasil and Pirates had jumped away from us, it was like every number on every instrument was tormenting me as we wallowed in light winds. However, in these situations you are left with little else other than to be philosophical and just accept the boat’s limitations in light winds.

”However, whilst one set of numbers cause frustration, another brings excitement as the forecast for the next few days looks fresh. Whilst we have finally had to accept that we are not that fast upwind or in light air, we also know that this boat revels in the big breeze downwind and right now that is exactly what our forecast into Portsmouth is set to deliver.

“So once again we are putting our best foot forward and going on the assault. Already, with the spinnaker set the scheds are looking encouraging and as the breeze increases we are sure they are only going to get better…”

Updated 16/05/06 22.46


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