|WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND-(15-2-2006) Just 24 hours from crossing the finish line of the third leg, from
Melbourne to Wellington; the Spanish “movistar” continues threatened by the
Dutch “ABN One”, which follows closely behind just 21nm after 1200 nm
already in course.
This is a really mere distance between them that leaves the Spaniards open
to play with the veer of the wind and drops in speed, a weakness their
fellow competitors have shown while crossing the Cook Strait – a narrow
strait through the two New Zealand islands and just 40 n.m from the finish
line in Wellington.
“movistar”, very aware of “ABN One”'s full potential, didn’t want to risk
tactics and around 09:00 am, the team opted to clearly mark distance from
“Had a bit of a shitty evening & night, after sailing side by side for many
hours with the black boat, they slipped away in lighter breeze. They are
having a better sail for the angle we are sailing right now. We were a bit
stuck; either we had to sail higher or lower for another sail. We decided
to stick with what had up, just to consolidate against the boats behind
The marked distance showed as the Dutch boat lagged from 17 to 29nm behind-
but in the hours that followed, the difference climbed to 21 n.m..
Movistar’s skipper, Bouwe Bekking, and his crew had things clear from the
start: first get control over the boats that follow and later make an
attack. “Painful, but right then the best choice. Five hours ago we were
finally able to get another sail up as the wind has come around, so we are
feeling good again and we are in the hunt”.
The distance with the rest of the fleet has substantially increased during
the last 24 hours. Yesterday the lagging distance from the lead for
“Pirates of Caribbean” was 20 miles, today it sorely increased to 33 n.m.
For the boat presently in 4th position–Brazil 1- the lagging distance has
grown –from 29 to 60 n.m; and the same goes its main rival the “ABN TWO”,
which is now in 5th place, going from lagging just 24 miles from the
Spanish boat yesterday to lagging 70 miles today and still 350 miles from
the finish.. “Ericsson” has been another boat impaired by the Low Pressures
that exist from Australia to New Zealand, and right now its sails 116 miles
behind the leader.
With Valentine's Day on their minds
This special day didn't go by unnoticed by the crew today, “we haven't
forgotten Valentine's Day. But can imagine some of us have forgotten to
prepare the gifts, so for the girls who didn’t get any: carte blanche with
the credit card today”. –notes Bekking, adding: “And a happy birthday for
my mother back home!.Valentine ’s Day makes it easy to remember”.
Regarding the situation on board “movistar”, the crew seemed calm after the
48 agitated hours in the Tasman Sea: “No breakages on board!! Some small
bruises on Nitro (Noel Drennan) & Pepe (Ribes), who got smacked around a
bit, but they are 100% functional”.
Concerning the stop over in New Zealand, the Spanish team didn't seem too
accepting about not being able to take the sails down and letting them dry
: “Nobody is looking forward to the pit stop, and we cross our fingers that
it is going to be warm and sunny; otherwise the boat will get really
smelly. We can't dry out sails as they have to remain on board. Not sure
who got this idea, but that person gets a big boeeeeeeeeee from the