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9 March 2006, 04:35 pm
Pirates Fight Back
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

Sights are firmly focused on the last 500 nautical miles of the Volvo Ocean Race leg four as the yachts keep battling through the light sticky stuff on their way to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pirates have take another nine miles out of ABN AMRO ONE's lead, with the only certainty a fascinating two days as the yachts stop and start in the fickle breezes surrounding the finish.
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Mike SANDERSON's (NZL) ABN AMRO ONE still leads with the chasing pack gaining and losing on them hourly. The Dutch team tacked at 1355 hours UTC today giving them a more pleasurable northerly course with 15 knots from the north east and only 308 nautical miles until a possible victory. SANDERSON is not counting his blessings just yet.

'Probably the biggest question mark is, what will Rio have in store for us as the fleet approaches? Will it just simply let us sail in? History and the forecast would tell you probably not, so this one certainly isn't going to be over until it's over. Not only are the Pirates still in range though, the Kids [ABN AMRO TWO] and Brasil 1 are pushing hard. The Kids of course with that never ending hunger to beat us, and of course Brasil 1, who are the local boys as we race towards there home port. Even Ericsson is still in with a hunt if it really turns to custard.'

Tight Behind The Leaders

And it certainly seems prudent that SANDERSON is still wary as Paul CAYARD's (USA) Pirates of the Caribbean is only 65 nautical miles behind them to the south west, in the same breeze and have gained another nine miles in the last six hours. Sebastien JOSSE's (FRA) ABN AMRO TWO is hanging in there but still has only four nautical miles separating them from Torben GRAEL's (BRA) Brasil 1 to the south east of them.

The Brazilians are of course chasing hard as they come into their home country but have had time to tell us of their food shortage and the culinary skills of their self-proclaimed chef and world renowned navigator Marcel VAN TRIESTE (NED). Stu WILSON (NZL) lifts the lid on the amusing situations.

'Enter the specialist! Armed with credentials, five round the world races and according to him, a total knowledge and full understanding of freeze dried food, how it is made, where it all comes from, and not least of all, how to prepare it in a proper fashion fully hydrated far better than we have been doing etc etc… All of this seems very believable to us as his partner does indeed supply us with most of our food as well as most of the other boats, so we let him proceed thinking that his last time in the galley where he managed to burn the bottom of the pot black was a one time oversight and that he should be given a second chance.

'Hell NO!!!! He is now banned from the galley indefinitely. Have you ever eaten carbonara sauce hydrated in salt water, (he claims a communication error with a second party is to blame. Yeah right!), burned to the bottom of the pot for that full burnt taste, that not even our extra special hot sauce from Bracarense could mask. Served with spaghetti which was eatable, but also left more than a little extra work in the clean up department.'

Food On The Brain

Food is also on the mind on the young guys onboard ABN AMRO TWO as Simon FISHER (GBR) their navigator talks of uncomfortable heat and disappearing sweets, 'Life on board is good though, despite the fact that food rations are looming as we are faced by yet more light winds up the course. All the luxury food items are now eaten within about ten minutes of them appearing in the day bag as everyone is keen to get their share. Right now if you snooze you lose!! Ironically there will be plenty of freeze dried left but maybe not enough gas to cook it! Not to worry though, the finish is close and that's life I guess, mind you I cannot wait to have a steak again!'

Back in fifth Neal MCDONALD's (GBR) Ericsson Racing Team seemed to have taken a flyer to the west tacking at 1225 UTC today, possibly in search of different winds nearer the coast but just before the 1600 UTC position report they have tacked back. One of the only plus points of being in fifth position coming into a light wind finish is that they can afford to take more unusual tactics as they do not have to cover their position and may as well risk it all just in case. Only time will tell.

Position Report At 1600 Hours UTC, 9 March 2006

Team Nation Skipper Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTLC CMG SMG VMG ETA
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 27 59.02S 43 57.05W 308 0 0 41 8.6 14.8 10/03/2006 - 2359 UTC
Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 28 55.01S 44 53.01W 373 65 9 53 10.9 14.7 11/03/2006 - 0647 UTC
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 29 31.03S 44 41.02W 405 97 9 55 11.6 14.6 11/03/2006 - 1007 UTC
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 29 32.02S 44 46.03W 407 99 11 53 11.6 14.6 11/03/2006 - 1020 UTC
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 30 12.04S 45 56.02W 463 155 -6 359 6.9 14.4 11/03/2006 - 1606 UTC
movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 45 57.01S 55 43.12W 1512 1204 45 7 16 12.1 15/03/2006 - 1719 UTC

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 Four Scoring Gate - not yet ratified)

Pos Team Nation Skipper Pts
3 movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 26
5 Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 24.5
4 Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 22.5
6 Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 18
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.

Lizzie GREEN (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Tim POWELL at the helm of Ericsson:© Magnus WOXÉN
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