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28 February 2006, 04:30 pm
Foggy Inside And Out
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

With barely over 1,000 nautical miles to go to the leg four scoring gate at Cape Horn, the Volvo Ocean Race crews have experienced lighter breezes but are preparing themselves for more heavy weather. The temperature has carried on dropping, forcing the yachts to try out their heaters, causing many to have as much fog below decks as above.
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After being dogged by main sail problems the young guns onboard Sebastien JOSSE's (FRA) ABN AMRO TWO seem to have finally fixed the rips and are back up to form currently sailing at 17 knots but still in last place by 18 nautical miles behind Neal MCDONALD's (SWE) Ericsson Racing Team. Birthday boy, George PEET (USA) has had a major part in this repair and apparently managed to cover himself as well as his target in sikaflex. Simon FISHER (GBR) reports today, 'After another bloody frustrating night with two reefs stuck in the main due to numerous holes, we are finally back up to full pace again after another mammoth sail repair effort this morning. There is another liberal coat of sikaflex over the mainsail, boat and of course George [PEET]!

'The lighter winds that we have had today have also allowed everyone to dry out a bit and to give the boat a bit of an air out. It gets pretty damn stuffy with all the hatches shut and the condensation ends up on every carbon surface making it almost as wet downstairs as up. With a bit of air through the boat though, everything gets a little more pleasant and liveable. We are ready for the next round of 30 knots winds that surely lie just around the corner.'

Movistar Dropping Back

Bouwe BEKKING's (NED) movistar has lost out to the top two yachts ABN AMRO ONE and Pirates of the Caribbean by five nautical miles in the past 24 hours. BEKKING described his feelings, 'For the first time in the race I have a little knot in my stomach, just have to stay relaxed and believe in the boat and crew.

'Last night was the coldest up to now, so Capey [Andrew CAPE (AUS)] thought we should give the heater a go. Always an argument, some are in favour, some against using it. In favour because it is nice warm, against heaps of condensation and it starts 'raining' inside from of the ceiling. But Capey won, but not for long. After five minutes running the thing it was more foggy inside the boat than outside. Pure exhaust fumes filled the interior. Capey, stubborn as he can be, said: this is just the start up and most of it is steam. But is got worse and worse, so we finally switched the damn thing off and had to open all the hatches, so it way colder than before. As Skippy [Chris NICHOLSON (AUS)] is in charge of this department, and happens also to be one of the persons who is against using it, the solution is easy. It won't get fixed, argument closed!'

Ericsson Blues

Ericsson Racing Team is still in fifth position today and after their Chinese gybe yesterday and ABN AMRO TWO catching them up in the last day, the crew is feeling down. MCDONALD explained, 'When a sail change proves to be the right one, there is a high degree of satisfaction. When we change sails and the conditions change again shortly afterwards you can see morale drop. Ultimately I have to make the call. It's never easy. I get weather advice from Steve [HAYLES (GBR)] and obviously the two watch leaders have a huge input. It's always easy to know what sail to have up right now. The skill is knowing what is going to be right for the next couple of hours. I have messed up several calls, but that's only natural in a leg like this, but I still hate it when I get it wrong.'

Second placed Black Pearl is appreciating slightly less breeze, after days of slamming and banging. Capt'n Paul CAYARD (USA) took some time today to predict the future according to his team and looks back into the history books. 'In two days time, the wind will build again to 25-35 as we approach the Horn. This wind will fill from behind, west. So the boats behind will gain on the leaders and there will be compression. Right now it looks like we will get to the Corn at 1200 UTC on 2 March in 30 knots of wind and I imagine a well formed sea. Very early predictions look like it could get very light and tricky up by the Falklands. Eight years ago, a huge high pressure bubble formed there and trapped everyone but us [EF Language], as we were just a few hours ahead and managed to escape and build a 500 mile lead by the finish in Brazil.'

Heading For Cape Horn

At this rate it looks like all the yachts will be through the scoring gate by the end of the day twelve of this leg despite the slow detour they carried out to get round the two ice gates. In the previous addition of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001-2002, John KOSTECKI's (USA) illbruck, kissed goodbye to the Southern Ocean after 14 days sailing from Auckland to Rio de Janeiro. This shows how much quicker these yachts are compared with the old style Volvo 60's. Illbruck won leg one and two and lost out on leg three and then went on to win the race overall. ABN AMRO ONE has had similar results in the legs to date and are set at present to pass through the Southern Ocean first. Will the Dutch boat follow illbruck's historical path? Or will the Farr yachts come into their own in the sprint legs coming up?

Position Report At 1600 Hours UTC, 28 February 2006

Team Nation Skipper Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTLC CMG SMG VMG ETA
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 57 29.01S 96 48.02W 3230 0 0 91 21.8 16 10/03/2006
Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 56 51.05S 97 52.03W 3270 40 -11 89 20.2 15.8 10/03/2006
movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 56 50.01S 98 19.01W 3285 55 -13 85 20.2 15.7 10/03/2006
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 55 34.01S 99 34.04W 3342 112 -13 92 20.1 15.5 10/03/2006
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 56 27.01S 101 35.02W 3395 165 -16 95 19.2 15.3 11/03/2006
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 56 7.15S 101 59.02W 3413 183 -11 94 20.2 15.2 11/03/2006
Brunel AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS

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
1 ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 38.5
2 ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastien JOSSE (FRA) 28
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, ABN AMRO ONE are flying along at the front:© Oskar KIHLBORG
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