"Fighting against a front and staying in it has been on the agenda many times in this leg. You may win a lot of miles by doing so, but if you fall short, the wind will back and you start to lose," says Ericsson 3's watch captain Thomas JOHANSSON (FIN). "We are humans and not robots, so we too start to feel tired and are especially fed up with these fights," he added.
Green Dragon is still closer inshore, 210nm off Mar del Plata in Argentina, which was a stopover in the 1981-82 Whitbread Race. Their inshore move, while looking disastrous yesterday, has gained the team 78nm, just as navigator Wouter VERBRAAK (NED) hoped it would.
With just 771 miles still to run for Ericsson 3 before crossing the finish line in Rio and the safe haven of Marina Da Gloria where hot showers, cool beers and famous Brazilian food await, boat speeds are down to under 10 knots and yet the distance is tantalisingly close.
The only boat achieving a reasonable speed is Telefónica Blue, but she still languishes at the tail end of the fleet, some 586 miles behind the leaders.
Current predictions are for a finish for Ericsson 3, provided she can hold off the advances of Ericsson 4, on Wednesday morning, with the other two podium places being decided later in the day. Green Dragon is forecast to finish a day behind, in the afternoon of 26 March, while Telefónica Blue still has just over 1,300nm still to run.
Leg Five Day 37: 13:00 UTC Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
Ericsson 3 SWE, Magnus OLSSON (SWE) DTF 771nm
Ericsson 4 SWE, Torben GRAEL (BRA) +57
PUMA Racing Team USA, Ken READ (USA) +116
Green Dragon IRL/CHI, Ian WALKER (GBR) +335
Telefónica Blue ESP, Bouwe BEKKING (NED) +586
Delta Lloyd IRL, Roberto BERMUDEZ (ESP) DNS
Telefónica Black ESP, Fernando ECHAVARRI (ESP) DNS
Team Russia RUS, Andreas HANAKAMP (AUT) DNS
Volvo Ocean Race Leaderboard - Provisional
(After leg five, scoring gate two)
1. Ericsson 4, skipper Torben GRAEL (BRA), 56.5 points
2. PUMA, skipper Ken READ (USA), 47 points
3. Telefónica Blue, skipper Bouwe BEKKING (NED), 46.5 points
4. Ericsson 3, skipper Magnus OLSSON (SWE), 35.5 points
5. Green Dragon, skipper Ian WALKER (GBR), 34.5 points
6. Telefónica Black, skipper Fernando ECHAVARRI (ESP), 21 points
7. Delta Lloyd, skipper Roberto BERMUDEZ (ESP), 12 points
8. Team Russia, skipper Andreas HANAKAMP (AUT), 10.5 points
Go here for all the news on the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09
Volvo Ocean Race - www.volvooceanrace.org