Friday, April 17, 2009

Volvo Ocean Race: Telefonica Blue first to cross scoring gate, 22 miles ahead of Ericsson 4

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Telefonica Blue was first to the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha tonight. The Spanish boat crossed the landmark at the South Atlantic archipelago at 19:58 GMT.

Bouwe Bekking and his men pick up four points for their efforts. Their lead over second-placed Ericsson 4 was 22 miles at the point of reaching Noronha. Delta Lloyd was seven miles further adrift and Telefonica Black one mile behind.

It was the second time Bekking had been first to reach Noronha after a similar feat on Leg 1 in the 2005-06 race. On that occasion, he pipped ABN AMRO ONE (re-invented as Delta Lloyd in 2008-09) for the points.

"The rounding didn't come easy,” Bekking said. “Heavy squalls accompanied us, and 10 miles before the gate, the breeze dropped from 23 knots to 3 knots.

"But we made the right call on the sail choice and soon we were off again. We rounded just before it became dark, in a huge rain squall, so visibility was reduced, but we had a glimpse of the island.

"We are all happy to have beaten Ericsson 4. Let’s see if we can keep going like this until the finish ... which is still a long way away.”

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