NÄSTA

TIGHT AT THE TOP

Maj 17, 2009 @ 17:54:31   Foto Gustav Morin/Ericsson 3/Volvo Ocean Race Gabriele Olivo / Telefonica Blue

Elvind Meleeby onboard Ericsson 3, with Green Dragon in the fog behind

1 AV 2

There is little daylight between the front-runners as the fleet heads into the open expanses of the Atlantic. Chilly temperatures, fog patches and lobster fields have provided the occupational hazards on day two of Leg 7 from Boston to Galway.


Ericsson 3, PUMA and Telefonica Blue are locked together in the charge around Cape Sable Island off the southern-most point of Nova Scotia in 20 knots of south-southeasterly breeze. They are around 350 nautical miles from the scoring gate off Newfoundland.

A lateral split at the head of the fleet is evident on the Race Viewer. PUMA, Telefonica Blue and Ericsson 4 are positioned north with Ericsson 3 and Telefonica Black to the south of that trio.

By the 16:00 GMT Position Report, just two miles separated first to fifth. Delta Lloyd was the southern-most boat, at +7 miles from the main pack.

Green Dragon, shouldering the expectations and navigational nous of thousands of fans on the Volvo Ocean Race virtual game, was 16 miles adrift of the lead group.

Getting back into the rhythm of life on board has required some readjustment according to Ericsson 4 Media Crew Member, Guy Salter. “Taking time to get back into the old routine has come as a bit of a shock to the system,” he wrote.

“The temperature drop was sudden – just a couple of hours after the start and I was in two thermal layers and a mid layer – close to the max worn in the southern ocean.

"Warm hats and balaclavas plus gloves are essential on deck. The thick chilling fog that descended whilst we were in Boston Harbour lifted just before sunrise.

"I will always remember the bow of the ship looming out of the fog as we rounded the top mark, the Delta Lloyd boys suffered the most and I’m sure the language on the bridge of the ship would have been pretty blue when the whole Volvo fleet squeezed in front of the vessel.

"We can see six boats clearly – all lined up off the coast of Nova Scotia. We are jib reaching along and keep sailing through vast areas of lobster pots – many of which we managed to hook up on the keel, daggerboard and rudders.

"We can see that the other boats are weaving their way through the lobster pot field. I’d be amazed that the number of lobster is stable after the amount I saw on the menu in the New England area, many of which ended up on my plate.”

Lobsters were also on the menu for Ian Walker's Green Dragon. "Today we were confronted by hundreds of them (lobster pots)," he reported.

"After zig zagging our way through we eventually hooked one on our leeward daggerboard. Five minutes later we had three of them entangling us. After backing down and clearing two of them we realised one line had sawn its way through the leading edge of the port daggerboard. We managed to raise the board and cut it free but we are left with a 250 cut in the laminate of our daggerboard.

"We cannot leave the board in this state or the laminate will peel away and the board will start to disintegrate. Right now the watch system is on hold and we have four teams of people working onboard.

"Two people are sailing the boat as fast as they can with no daggerboards, three people led by Neal (McDonald) are working to repair the damaged board down below and three people led by Damian (Foxall) are working to swap the windward board end for end into the leeward case and two people are eating or resting.

"This is a big disappointment as we were in sight of five boats and sailing well. We can only hope that we don't lose touch with the fleet and live to fight another day."



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