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North or South

Volvo Ocean Race - Leg 4 - North or South
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND-(20-2-2006) Over the past six hours ABN AMROs ONE and TWO have worked north slightly – well, actually they have not sailed as much to the south as the rest of the fleet – but the upshot of their game plan is that these two leaders are now 50 nautical miles north of Ericsson in third.

Ericsson has continued its encouraging charge, taking another two miles off Pirates of the Caribbean, but losing 15 miles on ABN AMRO ONE in the process – largely due to the easting made by the leaders.

movistar has made up more ground on the fleet, taking advantage of Brasil 1’s sail limitations to get into fifth place. movistar might not be at the front of the fleet where she would like to be, but she is in the pack now and subject to the same vagaries of wind and weather as all the other boats.

At the 1600GMT position report, the situation was ABN AMRO ONE leading ABN AMRO TWO by 19 miles. Ericsson is 24 miles behind ABN AMRO TWO, with Pirates seven miles astern. Then it’s movistar another 20 miles behind, with Brasil 1 bringing up the rear 77 miles from the leader, seven miles behind Brasil 1.

Unsurprisingly, ABN AMRO ONE has the best 24 hour run at 444 miles, an average sped of 18.5 knots for the period. Ericsson has racked up 419 miles in 24 hours, one more than Pirates and movistar.

This afternoon only Paul Cayard on Pirates of the Caribbean has sent an email, “ABN AMRO ONE continues to impress with her speed. The rest of the fleet goes pretty much the same speed and you can see when someone makes a good move relative to the weather. With ABN AMRO ONE they are just plain fast. They have averaged almost one knot faster than the rest of us today, sailing in identical conditions. It has been a bit reachy and that is their strong suit as they have a lot of form stability.

“The conditions today were pretty pleasant, 17 to 20 knots at 125 true wind angle, going to 145 true wind angle, giving us good average boat speeds around 17 to 18 knots for six hour reports. We were actually doing the 125 TWA most of today, which is ideal for ABN AMRO ONE due to their form stability, but now we have just squared up and put up our big running spinnaker. So maybe we will gain a bit on ABN AMRO ONE now.

“The forecast for the next three days is that we are working the south side of a high pressure cell turning into a ridge. This ridge will block our path to the first ice waypoint which is actually a gate. This block will probably compress the fleet as the first boats hit the wall first and the others come piling in from behind.”

Source: Event Media

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