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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Leaders Destroy Doldrums - Volvo Ocean Race Update

While the leading pair, PUMA’s Mar Mostro (Ken Read/USA) and Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) were set free and sailing at 11-12 knots towards Fernando de Noronha off the Brazilian coast, both CAMPER (Chris Nicholson/AUS), who made a late call to track west, and Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas/FRA), who stuck steadfastly to the coastal option, have been left wallowing in serious Doldrums conditions.
Ryan Godfrey Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race 
The leaders have been enjoying the south-easterly trade winds for the last 12 hours, having averaged around 11 knots boat speed throughout their rapid crossing of the Doldrums. Neither boat stopped completely and both benefitted from wind speeds of between 8 – 16 knots.
 Andy McLean Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
At 0700 UTC this morning, CAMPER and Groupama 4 had lost over 20 nautical miles (nm) against PUMA’s Mar Mostro, who continues to lead the Spanish boat by a fraction over 12 nm.

Overnight, Nicholson reported a huge storm cell right in the path of CAMPER, measuring about 60 nm wide. Not to be deterred, Nicholson remained upbeat. “We can still win this leg,” he said. “We’ve got about 4,000 nm to go. We’ve got the hammer down as hard as we can go.”
Will Oxley gives Chris NIcholson the latest position report Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
At 1000 UTC this morning, things seemed a bit brighter for the CAMPER team as their average boat speed had increased to 12.8 knots, the fastest in the fleet, and they had made a three nm gain on PUMA’s Mar Mostro. But for Groupama 4 the situation had worsened. As the leaders romped away in the new breeze, the French team struggled with thunderstorms, lightning and sickening patches of zero wind, 346 nm behind.
 Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
The team reported a northerly wind in their area at 0600 UTC this morning. “The GRIB files indicate a vast windless area ahead of us,” observed the crew. “Squalls, tacking, gybing, wind, no wind. For the ones who like manoeuvres, it’s great, but for the ones who expected to use that opportunity to gain on our competitors, it seems a little less obvious,” they said. Weather experts predict Groupama 4 has to endure at least another 24 hours of pain before they find the trade winds.
 Daryl Wislang Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
Meanwhile, the leading duo are breezing towards the turning mark of Fernando de Noronha, some 265 nm ahead, but, during the course of today, the wind will swing left from SSE to ESE and how that shift is played will be a critical decision for the navigators on the leading boats. But before that, however, there is the small matter of crossing the Equator 14 nm ahead where King Neptune will be expecting his dues to be paid.

Leg 1
Report: 16/11/2011 10:03:57 UTC
DTLDTLCBSDTF
1PUMA0.000.011.33596.4
2TELE12.100.0123608.5
3CMPR154.103.012.83750.5
4GPMA346.8012.08.83943.2
-ADORRetired from Leg 1
-SNYARetired from Leg 1
Volvo Ocean Race Media

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