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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Abu Dhabi Board The Lisbon Express - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Abu Dhabi were building a big lead on Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Sunday after beating the fleet to a low pressure system that packs the power to catapult them to within a couple of hundred miles of the finish.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
The team skippered by Britain's twice Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker have been bolstered by the misfortune of their rivals, with overall race leaders Team Telefónica and second-placed Groupama sailing team stuck, struggling to find pace in a high pressure system in fifth and fourth respectively.
Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG remain second on Leg 7, trailing the leaders by 48 nautical miles, while CAMPER are third, 60 nm behind. Both are in prime position to take advantage of an upcoming ridge that is expected to compress the fleet.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
Meanwhile, Team Sanya are revelling in a return to racing after missing two consecutive legs with damage. The team are well to the back of the fleet but have made the boldest move of all, taking a route north to within 50 nm of the ice exclusion zones in search of better breeze.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
The trek north puts Mike Sanderson's team in a position to take advantage of a front that will come from the west, which Volvo meteorologist Gonzalo Infante said could see them gain decent pressure and wind shifts that could even edge them ahead of Telefónica and Groupama.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
Infante said a ridge to the east of Abu Dhabi, along with the front that is coming from the west, would see the fleet compress over coming days. He said the boats further north were expected to fare best, meaning the possibility of more troubled times for Groupama and Telefónica, while giving CAMPER and PUMA a chance to catch up.
Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Despite the various pitfalls Walker said he was confident in his team's course, which had enabled them to race at a 24-hour average speed almost two knots quicker than their closest rivals.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
"At the moment conditions look quite good for us to stretch a bit,'' Walker said. "We need to get as far as we can because I think we're going to need every mile to be honest.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
"We've had a very good last few days. Jules has done a great job negotiating the Gulf Stream and that set us up to take us round the bottom of the high pressure, and I guess now we're getting the rewards for that. We should have good wind now until a couple of hundred miles out from Lisbon when we'll hit a brick wall."
Photo: Yanni Roui/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Groupama skipper Franck Cammas is banking on the upcoming ridge putting a halt on the leaders' progress, in hope of keeping his team's winning chances alive.The disappointed skipper put his team's current position down to a lack of luck and the play-it-safe tactical option to stick with the fleet.

"We didn't take the same option (as Sanya) because it was a 50/50 one and it's less risky to stay with the fleet,'' he said. "Now isn't the time to risk it all."
Photo: Yanni Roui/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Cammas is pinning his comeback hopes on the front that will grip the fleet in coming days.

"We hope that the front will reverse things, that the ones behind will come back,'' he said. "That's what I hope for and that's what you can see on the routing models. There is a good opportunity for us to hook it while the fleet will be compressed."

The fleet's Lisbon, Portugal ETA remains May 31.
Leg 7
27/05/2012 13:00:51 UTC
DTLDTLCBSDTF
1ADOR0.00014.51692.9
2PUMA48.50412.51741.4
3CMPR60.60313.31753.5
4GPMA93.60310.61786.6
5TELE96.10210.61789.0
6SNYA125.00012.41817.9

Volvo Ocean Race Media

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