Close encounters at the top of the VOR fleet
[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Telefonica Blue, reveling in the contest, still lead on leg three but Ericsson 4, having leapfrogged Green Dragon, are in stalking mood.
By the 16:00 GMT Position Report, Bouwe Bekking’s men held a one mile edge over Torben Grael’s pursuers on E4.
Behind, the battle for third place between Green Dragon, PUMA (both +4 Distance To Leader) and Telefonica Black (+8 DTL) is intense.
Over 300 of the 1,950 nautical miles from Cochin to Singapore have been covered. For the top six, which includes Ericsson 3 (+10), it has been all hand-to-hand combat thus far.
"It's been exciting racing despite it being all in slow motion at times due to the light winds off the coast,” says Telefonica Blue’s navigator Simon Fisher.
"The usual anxiety and anticipation of having to wait for each sched (position report) every three hours has been absent so far – because we have been able to see each other for most of the time.
"We have had a really good battle down the coast of India and we are now clear of the Indian coast and heading to the first of our Sri Lankan waypoints and to be honest it feels good to be back racing in the open ocean.
"Our passage down the coast was nice and smooth, not too many fishing boats or nets to contend with and the ones we did meet only needed a friendly wave as opposed to drastic evasive action.
"Tonight will no doubt be getting busy again as the wind drops and the fleet compresses once more but with everyone thriving on the competition right now we are happy to bring it on.”
Ericsson 4 skipper Torben Grael also alluded the closeness of the racing – and a close call in Cochin traffic.
"We are a little more than 30 hours into the third leg. We have already had quite a few re-starts and there is another coming soon, here at the bottom of Sri Lanka," he said.
”Racing as usual has been pretty close, especially with the “stop-and-gos” which recompress the fleet. After enjoying life at the extreme onboard a few tuk tuks (auto rickshaw), life seems quiet onboard in these light conditions.”
Labels: Volvo Ocean Race