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1 March 2006, 04:30 pm
Life At The Extreme
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

As the yachts in the Volvo Ocean Race pass below the 500 mile mark to the leg four scoring gate at Cape Horn, the sailors carry on sending in honest accounts of what life really is like at the extreme. It seems to be good for ABN AMRO ONE, who are once again enjoying the high wind sailing and have stretched their lead to over 40 miles.
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The leading pack formation has become very clear in the past few days. Torben GRAEL's (BRA) Brasil 1 is the most northerly of the pack and Mike SANDERSON's (NZL) ABN AMRO ONE is the most southerly, with Paul CAYARD's (USA) Pirates and Bouwe BEKKING's (NED) movistar dog fighting in the middle. In the past six hours the two sandwiched yachts have swapped positions back and forth but currently The Black Pearl is only 2.7 nautical miles directly to the north of BEKKING and his team. The north south divide of the leading pack is only a mere 63 nautical miles.

Ericsson Nightmare Continues

Neal MCDONALD's (SWE) Ericsson Racing Team has had another bad day, falling into last position, as the young guns on Sebastien JOSSE's (FRA) ABN AMRO TWO passed them at 1000 hours UTC today. In the past six hours the Dutch boat has managed to extend its lead by three miles undoubtedly forcing the Ericsson Racing Team further into depression. Steve HAYLES (GBR), the team's navigator, described the mental struggle bad position reports can have on a sailor in his latest log.

'Every six hours, for what seems like forever, I have waited in anticipation for the position results, only to see that we have lost yet more miles. There are lots of columns of information that come in the 'sched', but the gains and losses column is the one you look to first.

'A simple number like -6 can quite literally affect how you feel physically; after a bad sched (something we have had too many of recently). You stare at the screen in disbelief as you feel your shoulders tension up but after a few minutes you realise that there's no asking for a recount or having a second try; that six hours are over and you lost six miles; end of story.

'It's like 'torture by numbers' and its extremely effective apart from the fact that whilst we are still racing, there are always future opportunities and just as a -6 can instantly make you regret your choice of career, so a positive number can brighten up even the coldest of Southern Ocean days. You have to be professional and avoid making emotionally charged decisions; the calls you make when you are going fast are easy and often way less important than the ones you make when you're on the back foot.'


Skipper MCDONALD added this in a radio interview today, 'We're hating it. We are not really completely sure why, but we do seem to be losing out on any of the high speed stuff. We don't know whether we have a problem under the boat - we don't think so. But certainly, the last four or five days it has just been a slow, gradual process of being beaten up by everyone around us. We are not very happy with that and ABN AMRO TWO has overtaken us as well and that was the last straw. We're not very happy at the moment.'

On the other hand the ABN AMRO TWO crew is very happy, finally making up ground on the fleet and putting their gear failures behind them. Simon FISHER (GBR) described the environment surrounding them as they make their move slowly to the south of all the other teams. Are the young guns trying something different to get back into front pack again?

'The wind is steadily building outside, by nightfall hopefully we will have 30 knots and really be hauling. So far today it has been great sailing for this part of the world, 25 knots, nice waves and a crisp dry air which makes a pleasant change from the thick rain and fog which seems to be the norm down here. The lack of fog and dry air has encouraged people to stay outside as long as they can and we have seen some interesting combinations of gloves and hats, multiples thereof in most cases in order to enjoy the yachting on deck.'

Position Report At 1600 Hours UTC, 1 March 2006
Team Nation Skipper Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTLC CMG SMG VMG ETA
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 57 16.01S 85 20.15W 2861 0 0 88 21.8 16.3 10/03/2006
Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 56 50.15S 86 19.01W 2895 34 2 93 22.3 16.2 10/03/2006
movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 56 48.02S 86 31.03W 2901 40 6 95 22.8 16.2 10/03/2006
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 56 11.01S 88 0.02W 2953 92 -2 93 21.6 15.9 10/03/2006
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 56 59.02S 90 2.10W 3015 154 5 102 22.8 15.7 11/03/2006
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 57 22.01S 90 10.05W 3018 157 -7 97 20.8 15.7 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, It has beena happier day on the flying ABN AMRO TWO:© Oskar KIHLBORG
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