POSTED: Thursday May 21st 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROLLERCOASTER RIDE TOWARDS THE EMERALD ISLE
Leg 7 Day 6
The breeze is up and the Volvo fleet is rocketing downwind towards a predicted finish in Galway, Ireland early on Sunday morning. It’s the kind of sailing that everyone has been looking forward to and it is almost certainly the last time the boats will have the chance to show off their paces in the open ocean.
“There is something magical that happens out here, miles from anywhere. There is a definite edge to life that you don’t get racing in coastal waters,” said Rick Deppe, MCM onboard second-placed PUMA.
It is smiles all round too on Delta Lloyd, who are in the lead today. “This sailing makes you want to do this race again,” said navigator Wouter Verbraak. “The sailing conditions are absolutely stunning. Downwind, 25-30 knots, flat water and a red morning sun,” he said
But, the old adage goes ‘red sky at night – sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning – sailor’s warning’, and Wouter says the warning signs are already there.
“A thin layer of clouds is steadily approaching and growing thicker. The weather models of modern technology confirm the sailor’s rhyme. They are predicting winds to build to 30 knots tonight and more tomorrow,” he confirmed.
Ahead of the cold front, the crews are playing the fortunes of the Gulf Stream, which, if in the right place, can give a boat a boost of nearly three knots. Scrutinising satellite images and recording surface temperatures gives a rough guideline as to where to look for the best current, the temperature gauge being the best tool as it shows the transition from colder to warmer water.
“The trick,” says Wouter “is to find a good patch of current and try to stick with it by following its temperature trail.” No fun for the navigators, who are constantly monitoring the situation and not able to sleep.
Yesterday afternoon, Telefónica Black (third place today) was neck and neck with Ericsson 4 (fourth place today), running with masthead gennakers. “The guys have just completed a back down right in front of us,” wrote a puzzled Ericsson 4 bowman, Phil Jameson, as Telefónica Black careered around broaching before eventually the crew sailed the boat backwards.
“Look,” shouted Telefónica Black’s David Vera, “there is a big turtle stuck on the leading edge of the keel, unbelievable.” One by one, the crew peered through the endoscope to see a three-foot full size ocean turtle trapped on the front side of the keel blade and desperately trying to free itself.
“Fernando Echávarri was at the helm and doing everything to help free the turtle, swinging the keel from side to side and finally putting the boat into a full broach in the modest 15 knot wind.
No luck, the turtle was still stuck, pressed onto the keel by 13 knots of boat speed. “Let us stop the boat and back off,” suggested Echávarri. The crew dropped the spinnaker on the foredeck, put the bows of the boat into the wind and, with the help of a staysail, sailed the boat backwards.
“There it is, just next to the boat,” cried David. The crew could all see the seemingly unhurt turtle swimming around the surface in gentle circles. “What a ride for the poor animal,” wrote navigator Roger Nilson. “It looked happy and we waved goodbye and hoisted the kite and off we went again. Just another day in the office… who said it is boring to be at sea?”
However, turtle incidents aside, no one is forgetting that this is the North Atlantic and gales here have caused the demise of many a ship. This ocean demands and receives deep respect and the helmsman’s current smile masks a worried face as the fleet blasts towards Galway. “Better get some good lunch in and enjoy the sailing on deck before it all takes a turn for the worst,” said Wouter. “Keep your helmets ready, it’s going to be wet. We are going in!”
Scoring Gate Order
1. Telefónica Blue at 03:11.24 GMT
2. PUMA at 03:12.04 GMT
3. Ericsson 4 at 03:33.05 GMT
4. Ericsson 3 at 04:06.02 GMT
5. Telefónica Black at 04:36.54 GMT
6. Delta Lloyd at 06:16.00 GMT
Leg Seven Day 6: 1400 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
1. Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermúdez/ESP) DTL 1186 nm
2. PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +2
3. Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) + 3
4. Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +6
5. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +9
6. Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +36
7. Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +46
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS
Race reports are issued daily to the media at 1300 GMT by email; however, positions are updated every three hours on www.volvooceanrace.org where you will also find the latest news, feature stories, images and video. Full press information can be read and downloaded from: http://press.volvooceanrace.org
For media information on the Volvo Ocean Race, please contact:
Lizzie (Green) Ward – Senior Race Press Officer (Race HQ - UK)
Tel: +44 1489 554 832 : Mob: +44 7801 185 320
Sophie Luther – International Press Officer
Mob: +44 7595 116 797
High resolution images can be downloaded from: http://images.volvooceanrace.org
Tim Stonton, Picture Desk Manager Email: images@VolvoOceanRace.org
Tel: +44 1489 554 867 Mob: +44 7816 975 355
For broadcast-standard video, please go to: www.thenewsmarket.com
If you are a first-time user, please take a moment to register.
For assistance, please Email: email@example.com
For all radio reports/interviews audio requests, please contact:
Guy Swindells (English)
Mob: +44 7710 295 995 , Email: guy.swindells@VolvoOceanRace.org or
Amanda Blackley (English, Spanish and French)
Mob: +44 7548 543 215 , Email: amanda.blackley@VolvoOceanRace.org
# # #
Name: Lizzie Ward
Organization: Volvo Ocean Race
Phone: 07801 185 320
Please refer all questions to the company listed above issuing the press release. SFC will not be able to assist you with any inquiries and disclaims any content in these press releases.