Today StealthPlay came into action for the first time on leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race from Alicante to Cape Town, as Ian WALKER and his crew onboard Green Dragon played their joker and decided it was time to go into hiding on the approach to the Canary Islands.
Green Dragon (Ian WALKER
/GBR) will disappear for 12 hours, reappearing on the 16:00 UTC position report this afternoon. Only the Race Office in Great Britain will know where the boat is, and that is for safety reasons.
At the time that StealthPlay was activated, Green Dragon was only 12 nautical miles from Ericsson 3 (Anders LEWANDER
/SWE), the leaders at the time, and set up to the west of the Canary Islands, with Telefónica Black (Fernando ECHAVARRI
/ESP) just on her starboard hip.
Over the past 12 hours, the Canary Islands have caused the fleet to scatter. Telefónica Black will go to windward (west of the islands), but we will not know if Green Dragon went with her until she reappears on our screens at 1600 GMT today.
Ericsson 3 went straight through the middle of the islands and is currently less than 2nm off the coast of Gran Canaria. The rest of the fleet went to leeward (east). Delta Lloyd/IRL (Ger O'ROURKE
/IRL) and PUMA/USA (Ken READ
/USA) and Ericsson 4/SWE (Torben GRAEL
/BRA) gybed close in to the shore and are now just 17nm off Cabo Falso Bogador the African coast. Choices have been made and the east/west split of the fleet is a clear 211nm, from Telefónica Black out to the west and PUMA and Ericsson 4 away to the east. Bouwe BEKKING
's (NED) Telefónica Blue also favoured the eastern side, and is following almost the same course as Delta Lloyd, but has slipped back through the fleet after damaging her large A2 running spinnaker this morning.
"It seems in the 18-20 knot wind range, we are not so fast, and we can't sail very deep,"
explained BEKKING. "The spinnaker just gave up and tore right through the middle and it was all hands on deck to prevent it from falling in the water,"
he said. Two of his crew, Daryl WISLANG
(NZL) and Jordi CALAFAT
(ESP) are putting it back together, but it has been a bitter blow for this Spanish team, as they continue to race with a spinnaker 150 square metres smaller. "We have to keep sailing the right angle for this sail otherwise we are cheating ourselves. It is very tempting to sail the same angle as before, but then we will sail way slower,"
PUMA and Ericsson 4 had a sleepless night trying to shake off each other. "Honestly, I thought the racing would be close, but this is ridiculous,"
wrote PUMA skipper READ this morning. Every time a move was made to shake free, all the gear had to be moved from one side of the boat to the other. READ says the onboard action is intense and all being filmed by onboard media crew member, Rick DEPPE (GBR). "Besides that,"
he says, "it's business as usual and there is nowhere we would rather be right now."
Will he still be saying that in 20 days from now?
At the 13:00 UTC position report, the fleet had a good north northeasterly breeze of around 19 knots. PUMA had the fastest 24-hour run of 367nm and Ericsson 4 had the highest average boat speed of 19 knots over the past hour.
Leg One Day 5: 13:00 UTC Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to leader)
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken READ
/USA) DTF 5436
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben GRAEL
/BRA) DTL 2nm
Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders LEWANDER
/SWE) DTL 37nm
Delta Lloyd IRL (Ger O'ROURKE
/IRL) DTL 67nm
Team Russia RUS (Andreas HANAKAMP
/AUT) DTL 89nm
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando ECHAVARRI
/ESP) DTL 90nm
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe BEKKING
/NED) DTL 107nm
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian WALKER
Volvo Ocean Race Leaderboard
(After In-Port race 1)
1. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe BEKKING/Iker MARTINEZ), 4 points
2. Telefónica Black (Fernando ECHAVARRI), 3.5 points
3. Puma Il Mostro (Ken READ), 3 points
4. Ericsson 4 (Torben GRAEL), 2.5 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian WALKER), 2 points
6. Delta Lloyd (Ger O'ROURKE), 1 point
7. Ericsson 3 (Anders LEWANDER), 0.5 points*
8. Team Russia (Andreas HANAKAMP), 0.5 points
*one point has been deducted from the Ericsson 3 score as per the jury decision number JN04 2 October.
Go here for all the news on the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09
Volvo Ocean Race - www.volvooceanrace.org