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.
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.'
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
|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|
|movistar||ESP||Bouwe BEKKING (NED)||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF|
|Pirates of the Caribbean||USA||Paul CAYARD (USA)||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF|
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