Torben GRAEL and his crew on Ericsson 4 have streaked into the lead on leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race after perfectly playing their stealth card this morning.
The advantage, at 13:00 UTC today, belonged to Ericsson 4, who had made a massive gain thanks to a well-positioned rain shower. She disappeared as if in 'stealth' mode earlier this morning, and when she emerged from her early bath, she had made a gain of around 45 nautical miles.
Skipper Torben GRAEL
(BRA) and his men are now sailing almost twice as fast as their nearest opponents who are clumped together in the middle group of the fleet as they race towards the finish of leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race in Cochin, India.
But, this is the Doldrums and to play poker with them is at your peril and the serious contenders in the leg have not placed any bets. They are sticking firmly, in a formation, which will ensure they will all benefit from, roughly, the same weather.
At daybreak this morning, the group of Ericsson 4, Ericsson 3 (Anders LEWANDER
/SWE), PUMA (Ken READ
/USA) and Green Dragon (Ian WALKER
/GBR) were all close together. Ericsson 4 was just a few miles ahead of Ericsson 3 and PUMA.
Now, with Ericsson 4 long gone, Ericsson 3 reports being at almost a standstill. The sea temperature is 31 degrees and the wind speed is 1.3 knots from every direction. The chasing pack wallows helplessly in the wake of Ericsson 4.
On the outer flanks of the group are the two Telefónica boats 68 nm to the west of PUMA, and Kosatka Team Russia (Andreas HANAKAMP
/AUT) 60nm east of Green Dragon.
Onboard Telefónica Black (Fernando ECHAVARRI
/ESP), MCM Mikel PASABANT
(ESP) says that the constant stream of breakages is wearing thin. "The breakages are so many that we spend too much of our energy solving them, instead of proper sailing,"
In the last 24 hours, the order of the fleet has changed. Green Dragon moves up to third place and Team Russia and Telefónica Black have swapped places. All the boats in the fleet except Delta Lloyd and Team Russia have lost miles to the leader in the past three hours.
Leg Two Day 12: 13:00 UTC Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben GRAEL
/BRA) DTF 821 nm
Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders LEWANDER
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian WALKER
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken READ
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe BEKKING
Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto BERMUDEZ
Team Russia RUS (Andreas HANAKAMP
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando ECHAVARRI
Volvo Ocean Race Leaderboard - Provisional
(After Leg Two scoring gate)
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben GRAEL
), 18 points
2. Puma Il Mostro (Ken READ
), 14 points
3. Green Dragon (Ian WALKER
), 14 points
4. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe BEKKING
), 12 points
5. Telefónica Black (Fernando ECHAVARRI
), 8.5 points
6. Ericsson 3 (Anders LEWANDER
), 8.5 points
7. Team Russia (Andreas HANAKAMP
), 6.5 points
8. Delta Lloyd (Ger O'ROURKE
), 4.5 points
Go here for all the news on the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09
Volvo Ocean Race - www.volvooceanrace.org