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30 November 2005, 09:59 am
Further But Faster
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

The Dutch leaders of leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race, ABN AMRO ONE skippered by Mike SANDERSON (NZL), are standing on and sailing further miles but heading towards much more breeze, which should set them up for a fast ride in the closing stages. Both Sebastien JOSSE (FRA) and the young ABN AMRO TWO team in second place, and Torben GRAEL's (BRA) Brasil 1 in third, gybed at around 0700 GMT this morning, have opted for the more direct route, but the breeze to the north of them is lighter.

Further back in the field, Australian entry Sunergy and Friends led by Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) has also turned the corner, around the bottom of the South Atlantic High and should start to pick up some good sailing conditions to bring her into the leg finish in Cape Town, South Africa.

Almost On The Home Straight

A shower, a beer and a shave, are some of the things the crews are now focussing on as Cape Town draws nearer. 'Every topic has been covered extensively from a variety of angels as we near the finish,' wrote Simon FISHER (GBR) aboard ABN AMRO TWO last night. 'Everyone is in need of a little rest and relaxation including our boat. The job list grows ever longer as time goes on too. Not only with stuff we have broken, but also stuff we need to improve before we head into the Southern Ocean,' he added.

With a shade over 450 nautical miles to go before they see the welcome sight of Table Mountain, the crew onboard ABN AMRO ONE are pushing the boat as hard as ever, maintaining a high speed of 16.2 knots, marginally faster than their nearest rival, ABN AMRO TWO, who are around 130 nm back. The gap between the young Dutch team in second and third place Brasil 1 lies at almost 100 nm, although GRAEL's team are maintaining the highest speed of the five boats currently racing at 16.7 knots.

Even the Neal MCDONALD (GBR) led Ericsson, with their canting keel fixed in the centre, is managing 14.8 knots, but they lost a lot of ground and falling back to almost 400 nm behind the leader. This morning navigator Steve HAYLES (GBR) reflected, 'We have certainly had an eventful and somewhat disappointing few days onboard Ericsson with broken sails from much earlier in the leg putting us on the back foot and then our incident with the keel last night effectively scuppering our chances of a podium finish on this leg.'

Looking To The Future

HAYLES continued in more upbeat fashion saying, 'On reflection though its not all bad and we still have a very important job to do ensuring we stay in front of the Australians and even more importantly, that we actually get across the finish line.

'On the upside, I have been onboard many boats in previous Volvo Races and other transoceanic races where we have suffered breakdowns and this is the least painful of them all so far… If the positions remain as they do now, we would be lying joint second on the overall leaderboard and just a point away from first place and if you had offered me that as an option a month ago I would have ripped your arm off shaking your hand.'

Looking towards the future of the race, HAYLES saw leg one as an education and anticipated improvements in the future, 'We have learnt a huge amount on this leg which is to be expected as we have seen the heat of battle for the first time and more than doubled the number of miles under our keel. It's been a relatively simple first leg and one with decent breeze the whole way which has magnified the speed differences between the boats. We sailed for twelve days in the middle of the leg without ever tacking or gybing and spent a lot of that time at a very specific wind angle which is great if that's where you are strong and not so great if your not.

'It didn't suit us particularly well but we are very happy to have witnessed it and we look forward to some marked improvements in our speed when we see these conditions again. We know we are strong elsewhere and it's now a game of improving where we need to without compromising our performance elsewhere.'

Position Report At 1000 Hours UTC, 30 November 2005

Team Nation Skipper Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTLC CMG SMG VMG ETA
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 37 22.28S 10 03.35E 459 0 0 113 16.2 13.9 01/12/2005 - 1345 UTC
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 37 30.07S 07 14.30E 587 128 13 102 16 13.6 01/12/2005 - 2157 UTC
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 36 48.19S 05 01.21E 680 221 22 100 16.7 13.4 02/12/2005 - 0336 UTC
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 37 09.02S 02 04.16E 823 364 -9 128 14.8 13 02/12/2005 - 1926 UTC
Sunergy and Friends AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) 30 43.46S 29 06.35W 2398 1939 -30 137 7.9 9.4 11/12/2005 - 0155 UTC

For a complete list of all the news about the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 CLICK HERE.

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Grinding in heavy seas on ABN AMRO TWO:© Gerd Jan Poortman
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