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15 December 2008, 05:07 pm
Ericsson 4 Into The Lead As Volvo Fleet Head Through The Pirate Waypoint
Team Russia change sails at the start of leg three
Team Russia at the start of leg three

Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09

Overall race leaders Ericsson 4 has seized the early initiative three days after the start of leg three of the Volvo Ocean Race taking the fleet from Cochin to Singapore.
The eight-strong Volvo Ocean Race fleet is now racing south of a line set between two waypoints south of Sri Lanka, put in place by race organizers to keep the fleet south of the coast and the possible intrusion by pirates.

The turn to the north, up into the Bay of Bengal cannot be made until the round the second waypoint is passed, about 40 nautical miles head of the race leader, Ericsson 4 (Torben GRAEL/BRA).

Once round the waypoint, the fleet will then face a 1000nm beat towards Sumatra and the scoring gate set off the entrance to the Malacca Straits. Wouter VERBRAAK, Team Russia's Dutch navigator puts the upwind slog into perspective when he explains, "It is as far as Miami to New York, slightly shorter than Sydney to Auckland, or from Holland to the very most southern tip of Italy. Wow, that is more than a two-day drive."

According to VERBRAAK, it is clear that there is consistently more wind in the Bay of Bengal and the decision as to when to peel off north will be a crucial one. "Go further east to get that better right hand shift, or go earlier to get to the stronger wind first," VERBRAAK deliberates. Either way, it will be all to play for once the fleet gets clear of the second Sri Lankan waypoint.

Telefónica Blue (Bouwe BEKKING/NED) currently in third place, nearly found themselves the wrong side of the waypoint, washed down on it by 2.5 knots of current, which, BEKKING says gave navigator Simon FISHER a few grey hairs!

At 13:00 UTC, the fleet was sailing upwind with tightly-sheeted Code Zero sails. BEKKING said that PUMA (Ken READ/USA) was sailing the best, Ericsson 4 - second best, and his own boat, Telefónica Blue, the worst. "It's just a matter of being patient and waiting for the conditions to change," he said. The leading pack has nearly three knots of current against them, which doesn't help their progress, but at least there is breeze and the boats are still making miles in the right direction.

Overnight, the order changed again. Ericsson 4 slipped into the lead, followed by PUMA (Ken READ/USA). Telefónica Blue was relegated to third place and is being hounded by Telefónica Black (Fernando ECHAVARRI/ESP). Green Dragon (Ian WALKER/GBR) has gone from second to fifth place and is just five miles ahead of Andreas HANAKAMP (AUT) and Team Russia who move up a place, swapping with Ericsson 3 (Anders LEWANDER/SWE) who is still struggling in the light conditions. Roberto BERMUDEZ (ESP) and Delta Lloyd continue to bring up the rear, but are now 63nm behind, losing 30 miles since 10:00 UTC yesterday.

Leg Three Day Three: 10:00 UTC Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)

Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben GRAEL/BRA) DTF 1475
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken READ/USA) +1
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe BEKKING/NED) +2
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando ECHAVARRI/ESP) +9
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian WALKER/GBR) +14
Team Russia RUS (Andreas HANAKAMP/AUT) +19
Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders LEWANDER/SWE) +22
Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto BERMUDEZ/ESP) +63

Volvo Ocean Race Leaderboard - Provisional
(After Leg Two)

1. Ericsson 4 (Torben GRAEL), 26 points
2. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe BEKKING), 19 points
3. PUMA Racing Team (Ken READ), 18 points
4. Green Dragon (Ian WALKER), 16 points
5. Ericsson 3 (Anders LEWANDER), 14.5 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando ECHAVARRI), 13.5 points
7. Delta Lloyd (Roberto BERMUDEZ), 7.5 points
8. Team Russia (Andreas HANAKAMP), 7.5 points

Go here for all the news on the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09

Volvo Ocean Race -

Lizzie Ward
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