Brasil 1, skippered by Torben GRAEL (BRA) led the pack away from the start line with movistar, the winner of the Baltimore In Port race under the leadership of Bouwe BEKKING (NED), in hot pursuit.
As the boats headed upwind to a rounding mark just before the Bay Bridge they forced their way into the massive spectator fleet as they headed for the favoured right hand side of the course.
Brasil 1 and Sebastien JOSSE's (FRA) ABN AMRO TWO were the first to calve their way through the fleet and for Brasil 1 the risky move was profitable as they sneaked out ahead of movistar and local heroes Pirates of the Caribbean.
GRAEL and his team were the first to round and set their spinnaker, hotly pursued by movistar, who turned just over a minute later, with Paul CAYARD's (USA) Pirates of the Caribbean 45 seconds behind.
As the fleet headed downwind back towards the start, Pirates of the Caribbean made some good gains and overtook movistar to move up to second place just behind Brasil 1.
Behind the lead three boats a separate battle raged as Ericsson with skipper Neal MCDONALD (GBR) back in charge and new navigator Mark RUDIGER (USA) onboard, battled it out with ABN AMRO ONE and ABN AMRO TWO.
Through the start gate, the final mark before the fleet head out to the entrance of the Chesapeake, Brasil 1 still held the lead followed by Pirates of the Caribbean and movistar. ABN AMRO TWO passed through in fourth place just in front of their sister ship and overall race leaders ABN AMRO ONE, who was struggling at the breeze dropped below eight knots.
After a promising start Brunel crossed through the starting gate in seventh place just under a minute after ABN AMRO ONE.
Judging by the tough battle at the start, the fleet will be racing hard all the way throughout the 400 nautical mile journey to New York.
The fleet is expected to arrive into the Big Apple late into the evening of Monday 8 May or in the early hours the next day. The boats will spend two complete days in North Cove Marina before departing on the Transatlantic crossing to Portsmouth, Great Britain on 11 May.
RUDIGER, the new navigator onboard Ericsson, said that there is not much of a passing lane once the fleet gets to New York and he thinks that it is possible that fleet may cross the finish line in the same order as it exited the Chesapeake Bay. The next few hours are critical as the teams focus on pushing their boats as hard as possible.
The arrival in New York, poses all sorts of challenges including lots of narrow channels that the fleet must keep within, along with fishing boats, barges, tug boats, police guards, not to mention the shoals which must be avoided and the skyscrapers which will disrupt the wind.
But last night, in an increasingly familiar pattern, the movistar crew broke the important piece of gear which drives their two main winches, necessitating the transfer of the spinnaker sheet to the mainsheet winch in every manoeuvre. 'The forecast is still for 25 knots later during the night; hopefully we can lay through and not have to tack in big seas,' skipper BEKKING said last night.
Over the last three hours, the wind speed has picked up to 30 knots and settled in an east north easterly direction as the fleet exit Chesapeake Bay, giving ABN AMRO ONE and ABN AMRO TWO the conditions they love best. This has resulted in an increase of speed and 30-35 nm runs in the preceding three hours. Pirates of the Caribbean and ABN AMRO ONE are currently the most easterly boats, with the boys onboard ABN AMRO TWO tacking within the last hour to join them on the eastern flank.
Movistar has moved up the leaderboard from fourth to first having posted the best three hour run of the fleet at 35 nm. Hot on her heels however is ABN AMRO ONE who at last have the conditions they excel in. Black Betty is just 2 nm behind the Spanish boat, having stormed through the fleet from fifth position at the 0400 UTC sched. Ericsson have dropped from second to fourth having posted the second lowest three hour run of 31 nm, allowing Brasil 1 to maintain her position in third.
The surprise is Pirates of the Caribbean. Having been in first place before exiting the Chesapeake Bay, the Black Pearl has dropped to fifth place, with the lowest three hour run of the fleet at 28 nm. Skipper CAYARD must be hoping that his easterly course with ABN AMRO ONE will pay off, and not result in a further slip down the leaderboard.
ABN AMRO TWO have maintained their position over Brunel, but having tacked east to join her sister boat runs the risk of losing ground to the Australian entry. Brunel - although not having made any progress up the leaderboard for the time being, had the fastest boat speed of 12.3 knots at the time of the position sched. Could the increase of wind speed provide more surprises in the fleet?
Position Report At 0700 Hours UTC, 8 May 2006
|movistar||ESP||Bouwe BEKKING (NED)||37 9.02N||75 47.03W||240||0||2||116||6.1||10.1||09/05/2006|
|ABN AMRO ONE||NED||Mike SANDERSON (NZL)||37 4.03N||75 40.01W||242||2||1||125||8.6||10||09/05/2006|
|Brasil 1||BRA||Torben GRAEL (BRA)||37 5.01N||75 46.05W||243||3||-1||126||6.7||9.9||09/05/2006|
|Ericsson Racing Team||SWE||Neal MCDONALD (GBR)||37 4.01N||75 44.02W||243||3||-2||120||7.4||9.9||09/05/2006|
|Pirates of the Caribbean||USA||Paul CAYARD (USA)||37 1.03N||75 42.03W||246||6||-6||123||8.5||9.7||09/05/2006|
|ABN AMRO TWO||NED||Sebastien JOSSE (FRA)||37 1.01N||75 45.02W||246||6||0||139||8.9||9.7||09/05/2006|
|Brunel||AUS||Grant WHARINGTON (AUS)||36 54.01N||75 45.06W||252||12||-1||148||12.3||9.3||09/05/2006|
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
(Up to and including Baltimore In Port Race)
|1||ABN AMRO ONE||NED||Mike SANDERSON (NZL)||63.5|
|2||movistar||ESP||Bouwe BEKKING (NED)||44|
|3||Pirates of the Caribbean||USA||Paul CAYARD (USA)||41.5|
|4||ABN AMRO TWO||NED||Sebastien JOSSE (FRA)||41|
|5||Brasil 1||BRA||Torben GRAEL (BRA)||37|
|6||Ericsson Racing Team||SWE||Neal MCDONALD (GBR)||30.5|
|7||Brunel||AUS||Grant WHARINGTON (AUS)||0.5|
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