The seven boats racing, plus Team Russia, who is accompanying the fleet, are beating under a blazing sun towards the finish line of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 in St Petersburg tomorrow.
Progress has been faster than predicted and the race director has just extended the course by 45 nautical miles, which has been an unpopular decision among some of the crews who are anxious to finish. The fleet is currently off the coast of Estonia, in the Gulf of Finland.
Very little if any, sleep has been had by the crews, who have been sitting on the rail for most of the night, racing this leg as if it were the Fastnet Race, but now, as the pace settles and tiredness is creeping in, the bunks are filled to capacity.
Skipper Ian WALKER
's (GBR) heart missed a beat when Green Dragon passed over a rocky ledge between two islands this morning. "I had my heart in my mouth as the depth dropped to 1.9 metres below the keel. I prayed that the chart was accurate and breathed a sign of relieve as the depth shot back up. That's enough of those scares for one day,"
There is an air of finality now as less than 120 miles remain for PUMA who leads the field by 2 miles, before the adventure is over and the final celebrations can begin.
The fleet is expected to arrive at the finish early tomorrow morning before parading into St Petersburg later in the afternoon.
Leg Ten Day 2: 13:00 UTC Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
1. PUMA Racing Team USA, Ken READ
(USA) DTF 116nm
2. Telefónica Black ESP, Fernando ECHAVARRI
3. Ericsson 3 SWE, Magnus OLSSON (SWE) +2nm
4. Telefónica Blue ESP, Bouwe BEKKING
5. Ericsson 4 SWE, Torben GRAEL
(BRA) DTF +10nm
6. Green Dragon IRL/CHN, Ian WALKER
7. Delta Lloyd IRL, Roberto BERMUDEZ
Volvo Ocean Race Leaderboard
(After Stockholm In-Port Race)
1. Ericsson 4, skipper Torben GRAEL
(BRA), 110.5 points
2. PUMA, skipper Ken READ
(USA), 98.5 points
3. Telefónica Blue, skipper Bouwe BEKKING
(NED), 92.0 points
4. Ericsson 3, skipper Magnus OLSSON (SWE), 73.5 points
5. Green Dragon, skipper Ian WALKER
(GBR), 64.0 points
6. Telefónica Black, skipper Fernando ECHAVARRI
(ESP), 50.0 points
7. Delta Lloyd, skipper Roberto BERMUDEZ
(ESP), 39.5 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