High-pressure slows Volvo Ocean Race fleet
[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] It is an agonising time for Ericsson 3 as Magnus Olsson watches the rest of the fleet catching him as his team fights yet another high-pressure area, which sits between them and the finish of leg five in Rio de Janeiro.
Over the past 24 hours, second-placed Ericsson 4 has closed the gap to 57 nm, gaining 29 miles. PUMA too has knocked a dent in the deficit and is now just 116 nm behind Ericsson 3, a gain of 89 nm in 24 hours. These three yachts are now 400 nm of the coast of Uruguay, roughly parallel to Cabo Palinio.
Green Dragon is still closer inshore, 210 nm off Mar del Plata in Argentina, which was a stopover in the 1981-82 Whitbread Race. Their inshore move, while looking disastrous yesterday, has gained the team 78 nm, just as navigator Wouter Verbraak hoped it would.
With just 771 miles still to run for Ericsson 3 before crossing the finish line in Rio and the safe haven of Marina Da Gloria where hot showers, cool beers and famous Brazilian food await, boat speeds are down to under 10 knots and yet the distance is tantalisingly close.
The only boat achieving a reasonable speed is Telefónica Blue, but she still languishes at the tail end of the fleet, some 586 miles behind the leaders.
Current predictions are for a finish for Ericsson 3, provided she can hold off the advances of Ericsson 4, on Wednesday morning, with the other two podium places being decided later in the day. Green Dragon is forecast to finish a day behind, in the afternoon of 26 March, while Telefónica Blue still has just over 1300 nm still to run.
Leg Five Day 37: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) DTF 771 nm
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +57
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +116
Green Dragon IRL/CHI (Ian Walker/GBR) +335
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +586