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24 February 2006, 10:09 am
Wind Gods Arrange Gales
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

As Brasil 1 scorches downwind in the north westerly breeze, running hard across the top of the high pressure ridge, with ABN AMRO TWO in her wake, the rest of the fleet now led by Pirates of the Caribbean is hurrying towards the scoring gate, but having to sail upwind. They have every reason to hurry, as just make everything even more interesting, the Wind Gods have arranged gales for the fleet just as it arrives at the ice gate in about seven to hours time.
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At around midnight tonight, gale force winds are forecast for the vicinity of the scoring gate and the boats to the south will not want to be sailing upwind in 50 knots of breeze. Paul CAYARD's (USA) Pirates of the Caribbean, currently in the lead, has only 70 miles to reach the gate and the wind has just freed her, allowing her to sail a better course. But the sailing is difficult as the waves that are left over from the tropical depression are large and the seaway is bigger than the breeze that is blowing, causing constant slamming. It is foggy, drizzling and murky.

'The transition from the north easterlies to the new north westerlies will be another tricky spot where a lot can happen. It will take place tonight, most likely, in the pitch black darkness as there is no moon any more,' said CAYARD earlier today.

Torben GRAEL's (BRA) Brasil 1 has taken 51 miles out of the leaders and ABN AMRO TWO has gained 40 miles, but they both have to make up over 100 miles.

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Stu WILSON at the sewing
machine working on a torn
genoa below decks on Brasil 1
© Pepe RIBES

All the crews are preparing for a wet and rough ride ahead. 'A few of the boys have dug out their dry suits ready for a wet ride. The general consensus onboard is that having had a pretty dry trip so far, the second half of the southern ocean is going to more than make up for the lack of water over the deck so far,' says Simon FISHER (GBR) from ABN AMRO TWO.

Brasil 1 Lucks In At Last

Although the southerly boats are approximately 100 miles ahead, Brasil 1, the most northerly boat, found the wind they needed at approximately 1830 hours UTC yesterday and since then has been romping away at nearly twelve knots, rising to nearly 15 at the 1000 UTC position report this morning.

The rest of the fleet, which chose the southerly option, is facing an upwind slog to reach latitude 48 degrees, and, according to movistar skipper Bouwe BEKKING (NED) yesterday, hating every minute of it. 'These are the days when you want to hang your sea boots up forever,' he said, 'But I can imagine the others hate life more, as movistar has done alright in the last 24 hours.

Position Report At 1000 Hours UTC, 24 February 2006

Team Nation Skipper Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTLC CMG SMG VMG ETA
Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 49 7.15S 144 43.02W 5258 0 8 14 7.5 12.9 11/03/2006
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 49 13.02S 145 0.01W 5260 2 -1 31 6.3 12.9 11/03/2006
movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 49 17.02S 145 18.60W 5262 4 -4 41 5.7 12.9 11/03/2006
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 49 35.30S 146 6.01W 5283 25 0 24 5.4 12.7 11/03/2006
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 47 6.01S 150 9.01W 5381 123 51 84 14.6 11.9 11/03/2006
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 48 57.04S 150 36.03W 5395 137 40 70 11.7 11.8 11/03/2006

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.

Lizzie GREEN (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Pirates are the latest team to hold the leg four lead:© Oskar KIHLBORG
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