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Next stop Cape Horn

13th March 2009

It has been a case of ups and down for the chasing pack today.  Last night saw them all make significant gains, Green Dragon had pulled back over 150 miles on current leg leader Ericsson 3. But conditions today have seen them slow again and lose some miles as PUMA and Ericsson 4 followed the Nordic crew through the gate and took the dive south. As Ericsson 3 passed through the ice gate this morning, their progress slowed for a short time, which impacted the rest of the fleet allowing an opportunity to play catch up.  But that was no to last long, as once they were through the gate Ericsson 3 dived south and were back up to speed.

Green Dragon have headed north and PUMA have concerns on their position as they try to keep some distance between them and the chasing Dragon. Skipper Ken Read talked of their worries about a low pressure system that Ian Walker and his crew could tap into and make up some ground on the big cat. There will be many weather options over the next few days as the boats setup their path to Cape Horn and the race for some extra points is now on!

Current forecasts suggest that the fleet will have a rough rounding of Cape Horn, for the crew onboard Green Dragon Cape Horn holds many expectations, for Green Dragon watch leader Neal McDonald this will be his fifth rounding, “Most time I have been around Cape Horn, I have had nice weather. It has been sunny, with not much wind, which was fairly pleasant really. I did have one occasion when it was quite windy, which is more like the typical weather you should expect.  It was quite exciting at night but I think I would like not to repeat it. It was windy, big waves and we really just needed to be very careful for the best part of 10 hours and after that it was fine, but normally you are just very please to get there”.  Elsewhere Volvo Ocean Race first timer Freddie Shanks, this will be his first passage around this famous sailing landmark.  Talking of what lies ahead he said, “I don’t know really.  I think it can be anything from absolutely horrible, with big seas and lots of wind to quite benign.  I think we are all looking forward to it as it will mark the home straight for the end of this leg”.

Conditions onboard still remain challenging as the cold weather continues, skipper Ian Walker updated us on life onboard Green Dragon, “We have had a tough time watching the guys ahead pile on the miles as they have ridden a weather system we couldn’t get to. We have been patient, positioned ourselves well and now it should be our turn for a while. The weather ahead is very uncertain and should provide lots of opportunity for those behind to narrow the deficit.  I think any sailor should be nervous about rounding Cape Horn and I am no exception.  It is pretty cold on deck and down below but it could be a lot worse. The guys are in good form and enjoying the downwind sailing”. Team

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