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20 February 2006, 04:33 pm
Staying Focussed
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

The tactic being taken by all the Volvo Ocean Race teams today, is to dive south to dodge the worst of the massive high, which is positioned between the fleet and the first ice gate of leg four. ABN AMRO ONE has added another four miles to her lead although the yachts are still in close proximity, with only a 78 nautical mile divide between the most southerly yacht Brasil 1 and most northerly ABN AMRO TWO.
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Paul CAYARD (USA) on his good ship the Black Pearl, explained the tactic earlier today, 'The forecast for the next three days is that we are working the south side of a high pressure cell turning into a ridge. This ridge will block our path to the first ice waypoint which is actually a gate. This 'block' will probably compress the fleet as the first boats hit the wall first and the other come piling in from behind.

Today we were in a 'see-saw' battle with Ericsson, within sight of each other all day. That was fun and we each learned a bit I am sure.'

The Pirates have been battling it out with the Neal MCDONALD's (GBR) Ericsson Racing Team and the Brazilians for the past day. Unfortunately in the past twelve hours Torben GRAEL's (BRA) Brasil 1 has fallen back slightly by diving further south than the others. Ericsson though, managed to stay with the black and red boat and passed them yesterday to take third place. They have increased the lead this afternoon to six nautical miles, whilst being eight miles to the south.

Tough Start For Brazilians

Brasil 1 has had a hard start to the race, they revealed today that they ripped their genoa at the start and have spent all the hours since piecing it back together. Luckily the sail has not been needed since but they know it's only a matter of time before the call for it will go up.

Knut FROSTAD (NOR), watch leader onboard the Brazilian yacht, humorously explained this morning, the great questions different sail combinations pose in yacht racing. This is especially apt, after the last leg, where many teams were losing precious miles to bad sail choices. 'It's amazing how precious these pieces of cloth are to us. As girls can spend hours watching, commenting, discussing and shopping for cloth to wear, here we are discussing, commenting, watching (we have been shopping as well) all this cloth, just to hang it up in the rig.

'And as well, the big questions are: What shall I wear (hoist) tonight? What will the others wear (hoist)? After I have gone to the party: Do I look good (are we fast) tonight? She's looking good (that sail looks fast)! Wonder where she bought it (we have to make one in Rio)! To look even better, I will wear some sexy stockings (let's hoist the staysail as well to be even faster)! Shit, I am not feeling well in this dress, I run home and change (this is not fast enough, let's peel to another sail)! I should have spent more time in front of the mirror (in the wind tunnel). Well, at least no one ripped my dress off (at least the helmsman didn't broach the boat so we ripped this spinnaker and lost it!)!'

ABN AMRO ONE Out Front

The race leader again for the moment is Mike SANDERSON's (NZL) team on ABN AMRO ONE with a 19 nautical mile lead on the pack. He focussed today on how hard it was for him to leave Wellington, New Zealand, his fiancée, family, friends and home country for the Southern Ocean. But instead of being worried about the high pressure ahead, he has been firmly focussing on what is happening above that, a dying tropical storm to the north in the South Pacific. '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.'

Position Report At 1600 Hours UTC, 20 February 2006

Team Nation Skipper Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTLC CMG SMG VMG ETA
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 49 29.04S 174 24.00W 6324 0 0 111 18.9 15.3 10/03/2006
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 49 12.08S 174 49.03W 6343 19 -4 110 18.2 14.8 10/03/2006
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 49 43.02S 175 33.05W 6367 43 -19 125 17.2 14.2 10/03/2006
Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 49 50.02S 175 45.03W 6374 50 -21 127 17 14 10/03/2006
movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 49 46.03S 176 15.01W 6394 70 -7 120 18.5 13.5 10/03/2006
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 49 56.02S 176 27.01W 6401 77 -7 117 18.3 13.3 10/03/2006
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.

Sophie LUTHER (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Brasil 1 is currently the most southerly of the VO 70s:© Oskar KIHLBORG
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