Friday, November 18, 2011

Spanish Smoking It - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Telefónica have taken the lead back and were ahead of PUMA´s Mar Mostro on Friday as the Volvo Ocean Race leaders race to reach a cold front that could catapult them to the Leg 1 finish in Cape Town.
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race,
An on-the-water game of strategy was playing out as the teams lined up to navigate the St Helena High, a huge weather system blocking the path to the finish line in South Africa.
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race,
The team best able to navigate the zone should reap the benefits of a cold front that could potentially transform the narrowest of advantages – the front two have been neck-and-neck since day one -- into an unassailable lead. Valuable miles are up for grabs as the leaders trade off short-term tactics against long term strategy.
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race
Spirits were high on Telefónica, who were nine nautical miles closer to the finish line of the 6,500-nm first leg at 1322 UTC and travelling at 16 knots, two knots quicker than PUMA.
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race, 
“We’re into the South Atlantic and it’s all a different kettle of fish, a different ball game,” said Team Telefónica navigator Andrew Cape. “We’ve got to find our way around a few obstacles. The weather right now is looking pretty good for us. There’s also a few opportunities for us to exploit and get in front of PUMA and get in there first. That’s the game, that’s the goal, what we must do and what we will do.”
Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race,
Currently the St Helena High is split into two systems by the South Atlantic Convergence Zone but in the next few days they will merge to create one giant weather system, meteorologist Gonzalo Infante said.

Telefónica and PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG must dodge the unstable weather of the convergence zone while still pushing as far south as possible in search of the powerful westerlies that will fire them to Cape Town.
Rome Kirby Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race 
It is in this section of the leg where the IWC 24-hour Speed Record Challenge could be won. A tiltthe current monoholl record, which was set when Ericsson 4 completed 596.6 nautical miles in 24 hours on the last race, could even be possible.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Chris Nicholson was also looking further down the race track. With 152 nm separating them from the leaders, Nicholson said his third-placed team were waiting to pounce on potential opportunities.

“The tactics from here are to try to wait for an opportunity and not try to force something that isn’t there,” he said. “There are a lot of miles to go. We need to be sensible about it. If there’s a ridge or a big weather system then we might have a chance to get back in the game. That’s all we want – a chance.”
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race
Fourth-placed Groupama sailing team pulled back over 60 miles in 24 hours as they took advantage of the stable south-easterly trade winds found just south of the Equator.

“We’re starting to align our chess pieces in the strategic battle of the South Atlantic Ocean,” bowman Brad Marsh said. “With one Atlantic crossing and the Equator crossing now complete we are looking forward to turning left, aim our bow towards Cape Town.”
Photo: Yann Roui/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Now past the halfway stage in the leg, and after 13 days of eating freeze-dried food and washing with wet wipes, thoughts of home comforts have started to creep into the minds of the sailors.

“Dreams of Coca-Cola, chocolate, beer and large steaks are starting to develop in the back of our minds,” Marsh added.

Leg 1
Report: 18/11/2011 13:22:39 UTC
-ADORRetired from Leg 1
-SNYARetired from Leg 1
Lulu Roseman

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