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20 February 2002, 10:08 am
djuice Take Second
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On board djuice

Volvo Ocean Race
Rio de Janeiro

djuice took second position in Leg Four. After 21 days of adrenalin packed racing through traitorous Southern Ocean conditions and near perfect downwind sailing up the east coast of south America the leading pack fell into a wind hole.
After so many miles in second place many were expecting Grant Dalton's Amer Sports One to cut the finish behind illbruck , however this was not to be. It was Knut Frostad's djuice dragons, which slipped through the Rio finish line at 11:52:42 GMT this morning after 12 hours of fantastic sailing from what has so far been an under performing team.

"It's great - the guys really deserve it," said an ecstatic Frostad surrounded by his equally jubilant crew. "I think the whole team deserves it - we've all been fighting so hard for this result. It's a really good feeling."

Prior to this leg Frostad's pink team had received a lot of criticism from the media regarding their choice of a non-Farr, instead Laurie Davidson, designed boat and their overall poor performance. With several poor results, and the fact the team were lying in seventh position overall, led to suggestions the boat is slow. Frostad has always believed, and today in some ways proved, this is not the case. "I think we still have weaknesses to work on, but upwind and downwind we're flying," said Frostad.

When referring to weaknesses Frostad is talking about a persistent speed problem the team has when reaching. "We were one of the top boats as we left Auckland, but we soon started losing out when we began reaching - we lost a lot," recalled the Norwegian skipper. "But, considering we have this reaching problem, which we are still working on, I think we sailed really well." More importantly, Frostad believed that if the team could boast similar reaching performance to Neal McDonald's ASSA ABLOY they would be a serious force to be reckoned with.

Though the team had remained in contention through the duration of the Southern Ocean they were still on average 20 miles behind the main leading pack. This was turned around by a decision, apparently made reasonably early on, to head to the east of the Falkland Islands - the opposite side to that of the leader illbruck . "We knew that if there was more than 25 knots against the current then it would be very difficult to sail through the area," explained French navigator Jean-Yves Bernot. It was a good move for the team as briefly they were launched into third place and, in the longer term, were back in the thick of it for the fight for second place.

As the pack neared Rio, home to the world renowned Carnival, it became obvious catching the leader, illbruck , was no longer a realistic option. Instead the focus switched to second place - with all four boats capable of taking the runner-up spot. "I never really thought we could catch the leaders in the last few days - they were just so fast," explained Bernot.

According to Frostad there was one key moment that confirmed to the team they were capable of snatching second place for their competition. "I think the biggest thing we did happened yesterday as we passed ASSA ABLOY in the light airs by simply sailing faster than them. Unfortunately it never showed up on the sked because we let them gybe away from us and they pulled ahead again," described the rugged looking Scandinavian. This provided the team with the confidence that they could overhaul the opposition.

But it was the move to the west and on to the inshore track that gave the team the desperately needed jump. In just two hours the team not only gained 10 miles on Amer Sports One, but also managed to find some reasonably stable wind, which allowed them to defend their new position. Though the move was in some ways a last ditch attempt to gain on the other boats, it was also a considered move by Bernot. "It was a case of looking at the fact there was no wind offshore so we tried to find something nearer to the shore," said Bernot before adding, "well it was a pretty special trick at the end of the day."

Frostad apparently took a bit of persuading to make the move, however he is understandably happy with the outcome of the decision. "Personally I wanted to gybe when ASSA ABLOY and Tyco gybed because we were faster than them," explained Frostad. "It felt very gutsy when we did it, but I decided that as we were in seventh overall it was an opportunity to do a big one."

The team's second place finish brings its overall points total up to 17, just one point behind Shoebridge's Team Tyco and only two points (assuming no further place changes) behind Jez Fanstone's News Corp. Yet again the Volvo Ocean Race has thrown up a few surprises - all except for another solid performance from John Kostecki's illbruck Challenge.

Position Report, 07:00 20 Feb

Position Yacht Name Status DTF DTL SMG ETA
1 illbruck Finished 0 0 0 19 FEB 02 05:58 GMT
2 djuice Finished 0 0 0 19 FEB 02 11:52 GMT
3 Tyco Finished 0 0 0 19 FEB 02 13:04 GMT
4 ASSA ABLOY Finished 0 0 0 19 FEB 02 14:22 GMT
5 Amer Sports One Finished 0 0 0 19 FEB 02 14:50 GMT
6 News Corporation Racing 110 0 8.2 20 FEB 02 22:36 GMT
7 Amer Sports Too Racing 186 76 9.6 21 FEB 02 02:29 GMT
- SEB Retired - - - -
John Greenland/News Editor
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