Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cold Front Creates Quiet Chaos - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) remain glued to CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS) at the head of the fleet, but a cold front has hindered progress and only PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read/USA) seem to have the weather gods on their side.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
The south easterly breeze in PUMA’s position mid field, 130 nautical miles south east of Rio de Janeiro, has maintained some bite and in the three-hour period leading up to 0400 UTC, Ken Read and his men were able to average boat speed of 12.2 knots. Further to the east, Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) and Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA) suffered with light airs, but, unlike the inshore pair, have the advantage of more easting and a clear path ahead.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Although not entirely happy with their position 24 nautical miles (nm) offshore of Cabo Frio, and preferring long term to be further out to sea, CAMPER have spent the night dodging road blocks of another kind, when after dark they came across an oil research vessel towing 14 8,000 metre cables behind it.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Two guard ships escorted the towing vessel and the entourage motored directly across the path of CAMPER, requiring the team to alter course. Skipper Chris Nicholson reckons the diversion cost five miles on PUMA, Telefónica and Groupama. According to Media Crew Member Hamish Hooper, the sky was lit by flames from the many oilrigs dotting the horizon looking like cities sitting on the ocean.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
At 0700 UTC, 34.4 nm split CAMPER in first to Groupama in fifth place, with light airs affecting the whole fleet and boat speeds dropping significantly. The inshore pair was able to average around 4.3 knots, PUMA 4.2 and the offshore pair only 3.5 knots, causing the entire fleet to make a small loss on CAMPER.
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
As the five-boat fleet makes its way towards the band of south-east trade winds, the sailing so far has been simple. Tacks have been few and only sail changes and lugging the sail stack fore and aft to trim the boat have kept the crews occupied. As the fleet line up, in a lateral separation of 59 nm, it is a question of who will be set free first by the new breeze, in two days’ time.
Leg 6
24/04/2012 7:01:08 UTC
-SNYADid Not Start
Volvo Ocean Race Media

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