The latest from Bouwe Bekking onboard Telefonica Blue.

Are the guys on Ericsson invincible? I still think not, but they are putting up a great show,  not only  having good pace, but as well solid navigation. Onboard Telefonica Blue I can see where our weak points are, and that is mainly the sails. Here we can make some big improvements, and again on this leg we learned heaps. We have decided not to build any new sails until we arrive in Singapore, so that we have a better understanding of what we want. Of course we have a direct comparison by looking at the numbers of our sister ship.  

We have gained in a  3 hour sched against them, we know we sailed well.  Still if the other competition is going  a bit faster than us, we know we have work to do. We have to do some work in the range from 15 -20 knots,  upwind. We thought we were fast, but three boats are always a tad quicker, and we know now why. Good thing for the forum to figure it out! I can imagine that some of you have come up  with similar answers.

Also it will be interesting to see when during the Singapore stopover, how many boats will have to take lead out of their bulbs. All the boats are getting re-weighed by the organization. Volvo boats never become lighter during this event, and it is good to know that we are having 140 kg spare before reaching the maximum rule weight.  We know that all the others are very close or on the rule max displacement, so most likely they all have to cut lead out, which of course will cost them performance.
No damage on this trip, besides one clip which exploded on a  jib halyard, but this might as well have happened because it wasn’t closed properly. This is good to know, because the next leg will be a bash of 2000 miles against strong trade winds. Looking forward to it?  Not at all, especially since we know that in Qingdao a week ago the temperatures were well below zero.
But first we go to Singapore, the shore crew is over the moon with the facilities and of course we are all happy to be there and to spend X-mas with our families. 450  miles to go!!
Bouwe Bekking