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Reaching along at 25 knots

17th November 2008

After a slow start to Leg 2, the fleet are now roaring along as they try and stay hooked into the low pressure system from the south.  The system is thrusting the fleet east in reaching 20 – 25 knot conditions as they head towards the scoring gate at 58 degrees east.  Whilst Ericsson 4 and Ericsson 3 are the most southerly boats, Green Dragon is sandwiched in the middle, with the two Telefoncia boats and PUMA to the north of them.

Volvo Ocean Race expert Mark Chisnell filled us in, “One note of caution, the leaderboard still slightly favours boats to the north, while most of the tacticians would prefer a position to the south, so bear that in mind when you’re assessing the fleet positions. In this morning’s run through the Deckman for Windows weather routing, you can clearly see the anti-clockwise rotation of the Indian Ocean High to the east of the spider’s web of the five day isochrone. That’s what the low pressure is butting up against. The Predicted Route for the optimum way to Cochin (or at least to the Chagos Islands, which are on the historical optimum route) is to hold to the starboard gybe for another day or two, before looking for the exit ramp, and gybing north”.

In the early hours of this morning PUMA made a move, they gybed and headed north, it appears that the fleet maybe out running the front, but only time will tell on this one.  The entire fleet has turned east just shy of the Roaring 40s, with the lighter conditions still in the distance. The question still remains do you bank points at the scoring gate, but run the risk of being stalled as you head north.  Or do you head for Cochin, and look for full points at the finish. With just over 1000 miles until the scoring gate, this low pressure system that the fleet has grabbed onto has the potential to power them all the way there, unless some decide to turn north for Cochin before that.

Update from onboard
“Compared to our first 24 hours leaving Alicante the first 24 hours of this leg have been relatively event free.  Despite this it has been quite tiring on the crew as we have had an abundance of sail changes. We used most of our sails before getting away from Cape Town. Tactically what had looked like a minefield has not panned out too badly. We made a pretty brave call to sail for about 3 hours in completely the wrong direction to get into the Westerlies earlier and were thankfully well rewarded. Now the whole fleet is charging along in 20 - 25 knots of Westerly and we have just dealt with the worst of the Agulhas Current. It is nice to have some other boats in sight compared to the last leg and it is even nicer that we seem able, in these conditions, to hold the 2 Telefonica’s and Ericsson 3 behind us. Puma and Ericcson 4 have a good break from the fleet with speed to burn.

Other than a bit if an uncomfortable trip up the mast for Justin to solve a reefing problem there is nothing much to report. There are the normal first day blues as we struggle to get used to the food and sleep patterns and for most of us the realisation that we will not see our families until Christmas. Cape Town is a fantastic stopover and it will always be hard to leave.”
Ian Walker, Skipper Green Dragon

Leg Two Day Three: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) DTF 3928 nm
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) + 6
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) +11
Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders Lewander/SWE) + 14
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) + 17
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) + 30
Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermudez/ESP) + 56  
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) + 60 Team

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