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24 November 2005, 11:12 am
Down in the Doldrums
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

Just as the crystal ball in the race HQ foretold ABN AMRO ONE's lead has finally begun to shrink as light winds have brought her speed right down and allowed the pack to make gains.
At this morning's 1000 (GMT) position report, Brasil 1 had cut another 12 miles out of ABN AMRO ONE's lead and was sailing just under two knots faster. ABN AMRO TWO has made big gains on Ericsson and was only one mile behind them this morning, the gap between these two and the lead boats has however extended.

Brasil 1 could have landed the first tactical scoop of the chasing pack from the last few days, with their easterly course giving them greater speed and placing them north of ABN AMRO ONE. With wind unpredictable at this stage, and the decision of when to break for Cape Town looming, it is hard to call positions in the chasing pack, but over the next couple of scheds it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Torben GRAEL could jump up a few positions.

Sunergy and Friends are still roughly 851 miles off the lead, but Campbell FIELD always finds time for his new fan club.

"Well, GT (Graeme TAYLOR) is really going to pay, much to the relief of Benny, our other Equatorial virgin - the pressure is off of him now. After a couple of days of relatively light drifting from about ten degrees north, we started to get into some good sailing wind. Yesterday GT quite inappropriately stood up and proclaimed that 'that was the doldrums, we are off now, into the trades in a few hours'. Nine heads fell into blistered and sore hands, a collective sigh was expelled - oh boy, here we go.

"Never, ever attempt to second guess Huey (a wind God).

"GT is on Barney's watch. 2000 to midnight last night we got hammered by a rain squall, but thanks to Eagle Eyes Barn we were well set up for it with two reefs and a staysail. Thirty-plus knots, unbelievable downpour of rain for four hours. A little mirth - Barn got smacked square in the chest by a flying fish in the middle of it all, and that was duly caught, and hung to dry on the aft lifeline in order to flog GT with it as WILL be commanded by Queen Codfish.

"0800 to midday, guess what: same watch team, same thing.

"So, we basically have had the doldrums bounce back south to make us pay for flippant comments such as that expressed by GT. Three hundred nautical miles of doldrums, with more on the horizon. We may even get as far south as two degrees north before we get the sweet smell of trade wind sailing. The seasoned salty old sea dogs on board (no prizes for guessing who) have never, ever spent so much time in this part of the world.

"At least this morning's rain squall gave us enough fresh water coming down the mainsail to have a bit of a freshen up. The soap came out, and rub-a-dub-dub three men crouching under the end of the boom to catch any water they can. Now we have three sweet smelling men on board ready to hit the town. I was lucky enough to be one of them; the rest of the guys on board stink. We nearly caught a comedy moment on film, whereby one anonymous crew member ended up baring bum in front of the camera when about 100 litres of water that was trapped in the foot of the main dumped itself down the back of his shorts and they ended up hard to keep on. We were going to run a general public 'identify the owner of this pimply bum' competition by putting in ten dollars each and the winner gets to nominate the charity that the proceeds go to (spouses and partners excluded). Unfortunately the camera shot didn't reveal enough detail to make it worthwhile, so we canned that idea.

"Well I hear GT's name being mentioned on deck now, as the watch change at 12 means the GT's squall is over with and George Clooney's watch gets to flap around for four hours with the empty void left behind every rain squall. I better go and cheer them all up with some news, in that the latest weather forecast doesn't look ideal. Being the navigator is sometimes not a nice job. These guys don't believe in 'don't shoot the messenger', at least this time I have someone else to blame: GT."

Position Report At 1000 Hours UTC, 24 November 2005

Team Nation Skipper Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTLC CMG SMG VMG ETA
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 21.34.52S 32.42.56W 2787 0 0 172 10.6 12.7 03/12/2005
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 19.46.21S 32.27.10W 2824 37 10 178 15.2 12.6 03/12/2005
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 19.51.52S 33.37.40W 3040 93 5 184 16.2 12.4 04/12/2005
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 19.59.39S 33.42.00W 3049 94 10 182 17.0 12.4 04/12/2005
Sunergy and Friends AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) 00.40.35N 31.24.56W 3901 851 35 196 11.9 9.8 09/12/2005
movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 37.07.38N 08.31.48W No Data No Data No Data No Data No Data No Data No Data

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

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, seagull eye view from the top of ABN AMRO ONE's mast © Team ABN AMRO
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