Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Great Gybe South - Volvo Ocean Race Update

After six days of upwind sailing, the fleet racing in leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race to Cape Town yesterday at last hooked into the weather system they have been waiting for.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
Downwind sails have been set and the three teams who chose the westerly option, PUMA’s Mar Mostro (Kenny Read/USA), Telefónica (Iker Martinez/ESP) and CAMPER (Chris Nicholson/AUS) are sailing wide angles at high speeds. PUMA’s Mar Mostro was the first to gybe south at 0655 UTC this morning, followed by Telefónica at 0825 UTC. At 1000 UTC, CAMPER was still heading west.

Leg 1
Report: 12/11/2011 10:03:39 UTC
-ADORRetired from Leg 1
-SNYARetired from Leg 1

“This is the reward for beating our brains out for almost a week,” says Read, skipper of PUMA’s Mar Mostro, currently lying second. CAMPER’s navigator Will Oxley agrees as the fleet gathers pace. “This is what these boats are made for,” he said earlier this morning.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
It’s not quite the same story for Franck Cammas (FRA) and his team racing Groupama 4 who are watching helplessly from their position just off the African coast, split from the pack and racing predominantly downwind in light airs at less than 10 knots. Kenny Read wonders if the French team have had to reach for their foul weather gear yet or run out of sunscreen? “At this stage my guess is that they are not pleased when they see our speeds in the 20s for the past couple of scheds,” he says, adding, “for sure they have had a much nicer ride though.”
Andrew McLean Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
Groupama has begun her turn west to avoid the windless zone south of the Cape Verde islands, but it’s slow progress and the chasing pack is closing fast.

Groupama 4 still holds the lead, but PUMA’s Mar Mostro, Telefónica and CAMPER are making big gains. At 0700 UTC this morning, CAMPER continued to take the most out of Groupama 4’s lead, gaining 20 nautical miles. PUMA’s Mar Mostro and Telefónica had each taken eight miles apiece.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
By 1000 UTC, in gybing south PUMA had gained 39 nm and Telefónica and CAMPER had pulled back 17 and 14 nm respectively. PUMA is now 126 nm within reach of Groupama and averaging 22.5 knots. Twenty-six nm miles behind PUMA Mar Mostro is Telefónica, while CAMPER has now closed to within 47 nm of Ken Read’s men.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
The three westerly boats are reaching and running to the narrowest point in the Doldrums, which they hope will provide a quick transit, but Groupama 4 will struggle to get west of the Cape Verde Islands in the light northwesterly breeze.

Volvo Ocean Race Media

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