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3 March 2006, 09:46 am
Brave Move By Brasil 1
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

As the Volvo Ocean Race fleet approach the Falkland Islands, all boat have better breeze, speeds are back up and tactical decisions have come in to play. Brasil 1 have gained 23 miles in the last six hours, by managing to slip through the Le Maire Strait, inside Staten Island, while rest of the fleet opted to stay further south.
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After a 24 hour period of mountainous seas and 45 knot winds, overnight the VO 70s were all but becalmed. Now speeds are back around 15-17 knots, with ABN AMRO ONE still leading, but Torben GRAEL's (BRA) Brasil 1 just 13 miles back and going almost a knot faster.

She has overtaken Paul CAYARD's (USA) Pirates of the Caribbean, positioned herself to the north of the fleet and could still make the choice of leaving the Falklands to starboard, while the rest will almost certainly pass to the south of the islands.

Neal MCDONALD's (GBR) Ericsson Racing Team has closed to within seven miles of Sebastien JOSSE's (FRA) ABN AMRO TWO after having a tough 24 hours. In the approach to Cape Horn a glimmer of hope in catching the second Dutch boat had the Ericsson boys hoisting a bigger spinnaker at first light. 'We took off down the first wave with such pace that you would swear blind that we were being propelled by something infinitely more powerful than the wind,' wrote navigator Steve HAYLES (GBR). Fighting on the edge of control, the motion of the boat was so bad that their battery bank broke loose and the terminals began to short on some carbon structure inside the boat starting a resin fire. The crew was able to strip down the battery bank and lash each cell in place before wiring it all back up.

After over 4,500 nautical miles and 13 days at sea, only 58 miles separates first to fifth position.

Movistar Passes Cape Horn

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Water everywhere below decks
on movistar...
© Pepe RIBES
...and the temporary repais to
the keel wet box

After the drama onboard Bouwe BEKKING's (NED) movistar yesterday, she has passed Cape Horn, scoring one point, and is now heading for the port of Ushuaia. The Chilean navy is checking on the team regularly and asking for updates. 'Even though we are fine, it is good to know that big brother is keeping an eye on us,' wrote BEKKING this morning. The team has spent the past 24 hours since yesterday's incident when the boat took on massive amounts of water, clearing up the mess and trying to get their equipment working. Their generator, which was totally submerged, has coughed into life, but they are still having problems with the alternators which were also under water.

'We have had some small electrical fires onboard, all little things, mainly motors of small bilge pumps, which have given up, but in my opinion, it is amazing that the electronics have survived so well,' observed BEKKING.

The team is using their emergency water supply (50 litres) for the time being as their water maker has not recovered. They will install their spare unit if taking the existing one to pieces and rebuilding it does not work.

Massive Seas Lie In Wait

Massive seas and patches of no wind, a deadly combination, were lurking in wait for the Volvo Ocean fleet as they rounded the mysterious land mark, Cape Horn.

Pirates of the Caribbean passed Cape Horn in 33 knots of wind, but soon after, just 47 miles east, they found themselves stuck in only five knots of wind, but a huge seaway. 'At least we are headed directly where we want to go: La Maire Strait, which is the water between the very bottom of Argentina and Staten Island,' wrote skipper CAYARD last night. Leading yacht, ABN AMRO ONE, was in the same situation, but worse, only managing two knots in four knots of wind. The best wind is offshore and CAYARD and his band of Pirates may well change their game plan once they become aware of this.

The luck is staying with the back markers as they scream up behind the leaders, in a pattern that is now becoming a familiar threat to SANDERSON at the head of the fleet. ABN AMRO TWO, the furthest south, is giving the becalmed boats a wide berth, keeping well to the south to avoid the wind hole. She is still sailing in 26 knots of wind, while Ericsson Racing Team is making 22 knots. Even the stricken movistar, who almost sank yesterday, is managing 13 knots at times, but she still has 78 miles to run to reach the scoring gate before diving into Ushuaia to effect repairs to her leaking keel box.

35 Knots On ABN AMRO TWO

ABN AMRO TWO reports massive seas, 45 knots of wind and, at times, upwards of 35 knots of boat speed. They totally destroyed their code 6 spinnaker when the boat nose accelerated down an impressively large wave and the bow dug in, stopping the boat dead in her tracks.

'Despite Hans HORREVOETS' [(NED)] valiant effort to save the spinnaker by easing about five metres of sheet, it was a futile situation and, as the bow went down, the tack of the spinnaker was ripped clean off,' explained navigator Simon FISHER (GBR).

'Even at this stage it wasn't quite over as the wave that had caused the tip up now started breaking over the transom and was attempting to flip Sebastien JOSSE over the handle bars. Luckily Seb, in the midst of all this, managed to execute a swift left hand down and steered the boat away from the point of Chinese gybing. What ensued was a tidy up and the realization that this was it for the code 6 for this leg as the tack patch conveniently tripped itself off the tack line and floated away.'

Shortly after this, when 'Sod's law of the sea' was in full force, they hoisted their code 0 sail which only lasted half an hour before the tack line snapped sending it and the metal furling unit flogging behind the boat.

Cape Horn Rounding Times And Points For Leg Four Scoring Gate

Team Nation Skipper Time Pts
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 02/03/2006 - 1238 UTC 3.5
Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 02/03/2006 - 1440 UTC 3
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 02/03/2006 - 1810 UTC 2.5
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 02/03/2006 - 2125 UTC 2
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 02/03/2006 - 2158 UTC 1.5
movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 03/03/2006 1
Position Report At 1000 Hours UTC, 3 March 2006
Team Nation Skipper Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTLC CMG SMG VMG ETA
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 54 17.01S 60 46.01W 2044 0 0 67 16.8 16.4 09/03/2006 - 2300 UTC
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 54 1.01S 62 16.05W 2057 13 23 62 17.6 16.4 10/03/2006 - 0000 UTC
Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 54 29.15S 61 20.01W 2063 19 -6 65 15 16.4 10/03/2006 - 0000 UTC
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 55 9.01S 61 6.12W 2095 51 -1 69 17 16.3 10/03/2006 - 0300 UTC
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 54 59.15S 62 3.08W 2102 58 4 57 15.7 16.2 10/03/2006 - 0300 UTC
movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 55 31.04S 66 29.05W 2225 181 -35 49 8 15.8 13/03/2006 - 0400 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, Brasil 1 celebrate rounding Cape Horn:© Brasil 1
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