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24 November 2008, 10:32 am
Ericsson 4 Regain The Lead Whilst Telefónica Blue Snap Daggerboard
Pepe RIBES coming back from the bow after trimming the Staysail onboard Telefonica Blue
It's been an eventful weekend onboard Telefonica Blue with a snapped daggerboard

Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09

Torben GRAEL and his crew onboard Ericsson 4 have sneaked back into the lead of leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race whilst Telefónica Blue have suffered another blow with a snapped daggerboard.
Just when everything seemed to be going right for Bouwe BEKKING (NED) and his men on Telefónica Blue, it all went wrong again. The boat was loving the conditions, the crew were pushing hard, and slowly, but surely, climbing back up the leaderboard, when the crew heard a big bang, and everything changed.

"We snapped one of our daggerboards, the boards which prevent the boat from slipping sideways," explained skipper BEKKING. "We destroyed it and had to stop the boat for 45 minutes," he said. Even worse for the crew, the little speed they were able to do, was on the wrong tack and sailing away from the finish in India and they lost 10 precious miles.

The crew found hammers, chisels and hacksaws to try and cut the board free, but, in the end, Pepe RIBES (ESP) was lowered into the water to get rid of all the bits and pieces so that the board could be raised again.

The team is underway again, but sailing much slower than they would like. The good news is that Laurent PAGES (FRA), who was injured in the big weather last week when he was washed down the boat, is back up on deck and even trimming the mainsail.

"You can't stop him," says BEKKING. "He [Laurent] was getting very, very bored, so we have given him this joy, as the conditions are not too bad." The crew have braced Pages between two spinnakers and made a little stand to lock his feet in to. His injured arm is hanging limply beside his body and he is still unable use it.

This morning, the chopping and changing at the front continued, with Ericsson 4 back in front of Ericsson 3 and leading the fleet. Yesterday Anders LEWANDER (SWE) and his Nordic crew on Ericsson 3 had led the leg briefly. However, Torben GRAEL (BRA) and his all-star cast on sistership Ericsson 4 regained the advantage overnight and have since turned on the afterburners, cruising along at 23 knots this morning. GRAEL and co hold an 8nm advantage at the front, with PUMA now in third 45nm back and Telefónica Blue fourth.

The jury is clearly out on Green Dragon as to whether the crew should attempt to repair their broken boom or not. Skipper Ian WALKER (GBR) says the boat is still going well with no boom. "When we have the mainsail set up, it looks good. The problems are when we need to react quickly to shifts of gusts as have about four sheets hanging off it." He says repairing the boom could be more of a distraction, especially as even with the repair, it will far from 100 percent.

Meanwhile, Tom BRAIDWOOD (AUS) and Damian FOXALL (IRL) have been busy fixing other things, including water leaking badly through the glue joining the port daggerboard. While they were making the repair, the steering sheave, which prevents the boat from Chinese gybing, came off.

BRAIDWOOD assessed the damage and decided on stopping the leak first, as the team was able to steer with the leeward wheel. BRAIDWOOD is in the mood for repairs and is keen to have the challenge of repairing the boom, but he is waiting for WALKER to give him the go ahead. If the repair is attempted, BRAIDWOOD says it will be from a combination of mainsail battens, glue, carbon and anything else he can find. He says it will look ugly, but if it works, he will be very happy.

Meanwhile, the Team Russia (Andreas HANAKAMP/AUT) crew was unfortunate enough to catch about seven metres of heavy, arm-thick rope around the port rudder, which stalled the boat and slowed it down.

The fleet is all beam reaching towards the finish in Cochin, India, and is in, or almost into the tradewinds. There will be around three more days of these fast conditions before the teams arrive at the lottery of the Doldrums for the second time in this race. It will be interesting to see how the fleet tackles this obstruction. "For sure, there will differing opinions," says BEKKING.

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

Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben GRAEL/BRA) 1476nm
Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders LEWANDER/SWE) DTF +8nm
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken READ/USA) +45
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe BEKKING/NED) +54
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian WALKER/GBR) +73
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando ECHAVARRI/ESP) +115
Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto BERMUDEZ/ESP) +194
Team Russia RUS (Andreas HANAKAMP/AUT) +203

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 -

Lizzie Ward (As Amended By ISAF)
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