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21 February 2006, 08:43 am
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

Overnight ABN AMRO ONE gybed south, going from first to last amongst the six VO 70s contesting leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race, as skipper Mike SANDERSON (NZL) begins the tactical manoeuvring. Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) and ABN AMRO TWO have taken over the front running, and things are still tight, with just 43 miles covering the entire fleet.
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At 2200 hours UTC last night ABN AMRO ONE held a 16 mile lead over ABN AMRO TWO, but last night they abandoned their more northerly course to gybe south across the fleet and take up a position as the most southerly of the VO 70s this morning. Conversely ABN AMRO TWO remain well north of the rest of the fleet, currently 28 miles ahead of Ericsson in second place.

Pirates are just two miles behind Ericsson, with movistar a further six miles back and forming a small trio positioned in between the more southerly ABN AMRO ONE and more northerly Brasil 1, who occupy fourth place.

Before the gybe south, ABN AMRO ONE skipper SANDERSON hinted at a change of course yesterday saying, 'For now the big decision on this leg is how to deal with a big low that used to be a tropical storm, there are going to be some interesting tactical decisions needed to be made by the fleet in the next 48 hours.. will make for some fun watching.'

Locking Horns

Aside from the tactical manoeuvring by the Dutch team, the main action in the fleet is between Neal MCDONALD's (GBR) Ericsson Racing Team and Paul CAYARD's (USA) Pirates of the Caribbean.

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Position map at 0400 UTC
this morning, showing ABN
's gybe south
© Virual Spectator/Volvo
Ocean Race
It is hard not to race against another boat when you can see it and Ericsson and Pirates have been in sight of each other and locking horns for the past 36 hours.

'We have had a great battle with them [Pirates],' said Steve HAYLES, the British navigator onboard Ericsson Racing Team. 'We've swapped sides a couple of times and we've been going better than them for a good section of it, and then they made a little gain. It's all down to exactly what sails you've got and what the wind is up to. As you make sail changes you loose a little bit, but then hopefully you get it back. It's been a very interesting battle, we're very, very similar boats, we're the same design boat and it's fairly even.'

CAYARD and his Pirates are sailing with a man down as Craig SATTERTHWAITE (NZL) is still sick in his bunk with tonsillitis, which is not helping the situation with Ericsson Racing Team. 'We're having a mini battle with them. In fact we're having a mini battle with everyone out here,' said CAYARD last night. 'We could actually see them [Ericsson Racing Team] a lot of the time. We were see-sawing back and forth. By and large, they have sailed a little bit faster than us in the last 24 hours. '

The Food Factor

Bouwe BEKKING's (NED) Movistar reports that that his crew has packed food for 23 days for this leg. 'Very conservative, but we don't want to run out,' says BEKKING, explaining, 'That would be a disaster for our bodies not to forget our minds.

'Food is good for moral and the moral of our troops is good, and we're ready to take the battle on,' threatens BEKKING.

Onboard Torben GRAEL's (BRA) Brasil 1, the crew has had the sewing machine out, repairing a sail they damaged on the start line. Although they are 68 miles from the leading boat, they have gained nine miles in the last six hour period.

At the head of the fleet, onboard ABN AMRO TWO, the youngster on the second Dutch team were also facing up to the fact that they were approaching crunch time. 'Before long we will have to commit to which side of the ex-tropical storm we will go,' explained navigator Simon FISHER (GBR) last night. 'It is either a long trip up and over the top or a rather nasty upwind beat around the bottom of the system. Until now we have been biding our time and going east as fast we can, while our decision has been unclear, but the sand in the hour glass is running low and will have to hedge our bets and see if the others follow…'

Position Report At 0400 Hours UTC, 21 February 2006
Team Nation Skipper Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTLC CMG SMG VMG ETA
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 50 14.03S 169 46.01W 6143 0 16 109 17.3 15.3 10/03/2006
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 51 20.02S 170 30.01W 6171 28 14 117 18.1 14.7 10/03/2006
Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 51 28.03S 170 34.00W 6173 30 19 114 18.7 14.7 10/03/2006
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 50 54.02S 170 43.04W 6178 35 33 97 19.5 14.6 10/03/2006
movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 51 18.01S 170 43.02W 6179 36 27 110 19.6 14.6 10/03/2006
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 51 34.09S 170 53.02W 6186 43 -43 153 15.1 14.4 10/03/2006

DTF: Distance To Finish
DTL: Distance To Leader
DTLC: Distance To Leader Change; the difference between the distance from the boat to the leader taken at the time of the last six hour poll, and the distance from the boat to the leader at the previous poll
CMG: Course Made Good; the average course steered over the period of the past six hours up to the time of the last poll
SMG: Speed Made Good
VMG: Velocity Made Good; the average velocity of the boat towards the finish over the entire leg
ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival

Overall Leaderboard
(Up to and including Leg Three)

Pos Team Nation Skipper Pts
3 movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 25
5 Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 21.5
4 Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 20
6 Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 16.5
7 ING Real Estate Brunel AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) 11.5

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

Sophie LUTHER (As Amended By ISAF). Image, At the helm of new leaders ABN AMRO TWO:© Luke MOLLOY
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