birthday bash

birthday bash

No one is getting a lot of rest in the Volvo fleet as they charge headlong for a Thursday finish in Lisbon, certainly Groupama skipper and watch captain Franck Cammas and Thomas Coville, who spent much of their night bailing 1 and a half tons of water out of the boat that came from a cracked ballast tank.  Then Brad Marsh spent another three hours grinding and epoxying, with the team expecting the tank to be useable by the time they are through the ridge of high pressure ahead and into more breezy conditions that will see this tight race to the finish. It’s anyone’s game at this point.

Even perennial backmarker Sanya Lan is still in the running, and a bit of Birthday luck could see 41-year old Mike Sanderson get one or two of those ‘scalps’ he’s been talking about all race.  Here’s a Birthday photo and update from aboard Sanya courtesy of Andres “Twisty” Soriano:

There are not very many people in the world who can say that, for their birthday, they were woken early for a phone interview, then before breakfast had a snickers bar lined with matchsticks presented to them as their cake, and a present in the form of a 100 calorie can of Diet Coke. That was how our skipper Mike Sanderson spent his birthday morning on board the mighty Sanya Lan.

Turns out he would need the sugar, as not soon after, we found ourselves in a 35 knots squall, and as Moose took the reins he averaged 25 knots of boat speed over 3 hours, knocking off about another 75nm of the total distance to go. It wasn’t a dry day; “I swallowed quite a bit of water up there, then its time for lunch,” he commented after his close to 5 hours stint on deck. “The plan is to try and ride this front for as long as we can, and then the next tactical move will be how to get through the ridge up ahead. The boat that can get through that area quickly will come out in pretty good shape,” commented Aksel, when I asked him to give a quick overview of the next 24 hours…

But for now, life is much of the same onboard, it’s still very wet on deck, and down below for that matter, the weight is still aft and we are still averaging 20 knots of boat speed. The finish of this leg is certainly shaping up to be a close one.

Here are the lastest standings:

  1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), 374.7 miles to finish
  2. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas), +13.6 miles
  3. Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), +13.9 miles
  4. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), +28.7 miles
  5. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), +30.7 miles
  6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), +49.2 miles