The crew of the blue boat had to work hard for their points and at first, according to skipper Bouwe BEKKING (NED), it wasn't looking good at all.
"For some reason, we had been losing ground and were in fourth place, a couple of miles behind the leaders. We had been checking our foils regularly, but nothing to see. But, during one more check, Pepe RIBES saw something."
The team immediately sailed the boat backwards to clear the keel and then, the fight was on. "Slowly, but surely, we reeled the boats ahead in," described BEKKING. In the end, the team clawed past PUMA by less than a minute, crossed through the gate and tacked immediately to avoid the western perimeter of the ice exclusion zone.
The fleet has a lateral separation of 14 miles from east to west and all are headed due south, all having crossed through the scoring gate. They are currently 213nm due south from Cape Race on the southeastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the Canadian Island of Newfoundland, where the cliffs rise nearly vertically to 30.5m above sea level.
The position of the ice exclusion zone is the reason for the fleet having to turn south and Telefónica Black, the easternmost yacht is parallel to, but 106nm from, the western corner of the zone. The fleet must now sail 175nm along the bottom of the zone, while still keeping a careful lookout for ice, before they can swing north again. The northeast corner of the box has today been extended to latitude 40 degrees west, due to ice sightings in the region.
Scoring Gate Order
1. Telefónica Blue at 03:11.24 UTC
2. PUMA at 03:12.04 UTC
3. Ericsson 4 at 03:33.05 UTC
4. Ericsson 3 at 04:06.02 UTC
5. Telefónica Black at 04:36.54 UTC
6. Delta Lloyd at 06:16.00 UTC
Leg Seven Day 4: 13:00 UTC Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
1. Telefónica Black ESP, Fernando ECHAVARRI (ESP) DTL 1863 nm
2. Delta Lloyd IRL, Roberto BERMUDEZ (ESP) +3
3. Ericsson 4 SWE, Torben GRAEL (BRA) +4
4. Green Dragon IRL/CHN, Ian WALKER (GBR) +10
5. Ericsson 3 SWE, Magnus OLSSON (SWE) +12
6. Telefónica Blue ESP, Bouwe BEKKING (NED) +15
7. PUMA Racing Team USA, Ken READ (USA) +16
Team Russia RUS, Andreas HANAKAMP (AUT) DNS
Volvo Ocean Race Leaderboard - Provisional
(After Leg Seven Scoring Gate)
1. Ericsson 4, Torben GRAEL (BRA), 84 points
2. Telefónica Blue, Bouwe BEKKING (NED), 72.5 points,
3. PUMA, Ken READ (USA), 69.0 points
4. Ericsson 3, Magnus OLSSON (SWE), 58.0 points
5. Green Dragon, Ian WALKER (GBR), 46.0 points
6. Telefónica Black, Fernando ECHAVARRI (ESP), 33.0 points
7. Delta Lloyd, Roberto BERMUDEZ (ESP), 25.5 points
8. Team Russia, 10.5 points, DNS
Go here for all the news on the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09
Volvo Ocean Race - www.volvooceanrace.org