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Sailing Caribbean Style
photo credit: Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
PUMA Ocean Racing, on leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston.

It’s hell for Telefónica Blue today as they see their triple-figure lead whittled down to a miserable 30nm, but it’s heaven for the chasing pack who are still romping along and enjoying the sailing, Caribbean style. But, the time will come when they too sail into the lighter conditions that Telefónica Blue is currently experiencing.
“We have been on the receiving end now for roughly 36 hours, losing mile after mile, which is part of the game. I don’t think it will stop for at least another 20 hours, as then, finally, the others will hit the wall as well,” explained the blue boat’s skipper, Bouwe Bekking.
Telefónica Blue is now on the same latitude as the Caribbean Island of St Martin, and ‘Caribbean sailing’ is what today is all about.
photo credit: Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Green Dragon with the sunset lighting up the sea, on leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston
“No more goggles, helmets and ful
l foul weather gear, just Caribbean style shorts and t-shirts,” says Wouter Verbraak, Delta Lloyd’s navigator. “Add a barbeque on the back, a nice chilled bottle of white wine and some fresh yellow fin tuna and we could be cruising along just nicely,” he says.
The reality is that there no time to attend to the barbeque, no hands free to hold their plates and glasses of wine, and the heel of the boat would have things sliding through the cockpit in no time. “It would be a big mess,” says Wouter.
For Shannon Falcone on PUMA, the Caribbean Island of Antigua is his home and he chose this morning to celebrate the passing of the island by offering a drop of Rum to the five crew on deck at the time.
photo credit: Gustav Morin/Ericsson 3/Volvo Ocean Race
Ericsson 3 going strong, on leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston

“Do some research into the long relationship between sailors and Rum, especially here in the Caribbean,” says PUMA’s MCM Rick Deppe, who added that the one mini-bar sized bottle shared among five probably amounted to about the same amount of alcohol as a teaspoon of cough medicine. “It sure does warm the throat though,” he added.
Onboard Telefónica Black, the crew has been taking advantage of the Caribbean conditions by drying out their clothes and having a proper body wash.
“What a relief after collecting many layers of sweat and salt,” says navigator Roger Nilson who has been tempted out of his navigation station and up on deck by the lack of spray. “We use the excess water outlet from the water maker as it functions as the perfect shower in the middle of the cockpit,” explained the newly clean navigator.
Still struggling at the back of the fleet is Green Dragon and skipper Ian Walker says that the current conditions sadly make for tactically very boring sailing. “You can only really play with some subtle angle changes or sail selection,” he says. The team desperately needs something to change in the weather to give them some opportunities. “I just hope we are close enough to capitalise on any mistakes made by those ahead,” Walker said.
photo credit: Sander Pluijm/Team Delta Lloyd/Volvo Ocean Race
Delta Lloyd going strong with 23 knots in 20 knots of breeze, on leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston

Delta Lloyd claims the highest 24-hour run today, of 393 nm. She has also averaged the highest speed over the last three hours, swishing along at approximately 16.5 knots, while Telefónica Blue is only averaging 14.8. Thirty miles astern, Ericsson 4 has also slowed, while just four miles further back, Ericsson 3 and the rest of the fleet still has good breeze.
Bekking says the remainder of leg six could be relatively quick and he is hoping for a finish on Sunday during daylight, which would, of course, be an excellent way to start the Boston stopover.

Leg Six Day 11: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)

1. Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) DTF 1,683 nm
2. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +30 nm
3. Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +34 nm
4. PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +42 nm
5. Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) +61nm
6. Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermúdez/ESP) +62 nm
7. Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +95 nm
8. Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS

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