The Volvo Ocean Race has gone into yet another session of upwind beating. As Guy Salter, Ericsson 4 media man said “So the big clouds became less frequent, not sure if these clouds were part of the long white one famous in this region, and we are now getting used to going upwind on port once more. The sea is starting to get choppy and we are starting to slam a little, but most of this is probably us getting used to the motion once more after the calm waters of the last week.”
The racing is unbelievably tight; most of the day, Puma and Ericsson 3 have been neck and neck, about 10 miles behind Ericsson 4. At the back, Green Dragon has forsaken its position as the boat farthest east and is now the farthest west, absolutely neck and neck with Telefonica Blue.
The interesting thing is that all the boats are competing for scoring gate points, rather than making a break for Good Hope. As Rick Deppe, from Puma says. “Next issue is the dreaded scoring gate, a line of latitude. This line of latitude has forced the boats low toward New Zealand and taken about 300-400 miles from our trip towards Cape Horn and put us in a situation where we will most likely pass the line then turn and go hard on the wind to get away from New Zealand. Now, anyone could cut the corner and head toward the ice gate now, but nobody seems to want to give up the points. When Capey told me about the 400 miles we will lose going to the scoring gate; I have to admit it was tempting, but we need the points and an extra half point may prove valuable in the end.”
New navigator Wouter Verbraak seems to be enjoying sailing with the Green Dragon team, in a reassuring message to his partner he said: “Kristine, my love, I know you’re worried, but know this, I am sailing with a great team of the best sailors in the world. No heroes here, just fathers, husbands and sons looking out for each other whilst racing their hearts out. Sleep well.”
In his evening report Wouter added “The reality check of this evening is a harsh reminder for me of what lies ahead for the next two weeks. It will be all about keeping the boat and the crew together, and I have to think for a moment of our good friend Hans Horrevoets whose tragic loss at sea is a bleak reminder to all of us of how easy things can take a turn for the worse.” Pic from Ericsson 3 and more new pix, from all the boats, are here.