Torben GRAEL and his all-star crew on Ericsson 4 have extended their advantage on the Volvo Ocean Race leaderboard after winning the race to the leg two scoring gate.
Ericsson Racing Team made it a one/two this morning when Torben GRAEL
(BRA) and his team racing Ericsson 4 cruised through the scoring gate on leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race at 03:40 UTC, adding another four points to their tally, bringing their total to 18. On their heels was Anders LEWANDER
(SWE) and his Nordic team racing Ericsson 3, crossing at 06:51 and swiping another 3.5 points. They now have 8.5 points overall.
The wounded Green Dragon is still going in strong, although with one wing clipped when she broke her boom two days ago. She crossed at 08:40 UTC, scoring three points (total now 14 points).
"We are thrilled to get third place and three points at the scoring gate,"
said Green Dragon's skipper, Ian WALKER
(GBR) this morning. "This has been our focus since breaking the boom two days ago. We seem to be able to sail downwind with spinnakers quite well, and, even now, reaching with one reef seems OK. It is the upwind sailing that we must hope to avoid,"
he said. The team hopes to start repairs on the boom once the temperature rises further so that the glue and resin they have onboard will cure. "I'm not wildly optimistic, but I think the lads are looking forward to the challenge,"
says WALKER. "I just have to stop them cutting the boat up in the process,"
A good showing from the Russians on Kosatka who crossed just under an hour after Green Dragon at 09:36 UTC, meant that a much-needed 2.5 points were added to their tally, bringing their overall score up to 6.5. Skipper Andreas HANAKAMP
(AUT) and his team were very happy with their 2.5 points. The boat is as solid as the day is long, although HANAKAMP says there is a certain luck factor involved with not breaking anything. "During the leaps we did in the bigger waves there were no scary noises from the structure of the boat, just the big bangs when you slam onto the water in 30 knots, which is scary and deafening in itself."
Next through the gate was Telefónica Blue (Bouwe BEKKING
/NED) at 11:40 UTC earning 2 points (total now 12 points). Telefónica Black (Fernando ECHAVARRI
/ESP) just pipped PUMA (Ken READ
/USA) at the post, nine minutes apart. Telefónica Black earns 1.5 points (total now 8.5), while the limping PUMA collected just one point (total now 14 points).
The last boat to cross was Delta Lloyd (Roberto BERMUDEZ
/ESP) at 13:21 UTC, scoring 0.5 points - total now 4.5 points.
The wind has eased into the high teens and now the race focus shifts towards the finish in Cochin, India as the fleet points its bows north.
Tactics for the second half of leg two will be influenced by high pressure, which has been building slowly to the south of Madagascar since Tuesday, and which the fleet must skirt. HANAKAMP says, "Having the right wind speed and angle is critical, even though the fleet will be compressed later on. This could well change, and, at the end, you want to come out of the compression as much ahead as possible."
So, no holding back now, it is foot to the floor for the fleet. The position of the high will make for at least 12 hours of light winds along the rhumb-line course between the boats' current positions and Cochin, but then the teams can look forward to a few days of trade wind sailing.
Moods have improved as the air temperature gets hotter and the boats begin to dry out. The Southern Ocean is officially left behind, until it makes its reappearance in leg five from Qingdao in China to Rio de Janeiro, which takes the fleet around the infamous Cape Horn.
Leg Two Day Six: 13:00 UTC Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders LEWANDER
/SWE) DTF 2969 nm
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken READ
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben GRAEL
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian WALKER
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe BEKKING
Team Russia RUS (Andreas HANAKAMP
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando ECHAVARRI
Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto BERMUDEZ
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 points*
*Yet to pass Scoring Gate
Go here for all the news on the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09
Volvo Ocean Race - www.volvooceanrace.org