VOR Report: Leg Seven Day 5

The fleet, led by Telefónica Black, is converging on the southeast corner of the ice exclusion zone just over three nautical miles ahead, where sheets will be eased and spinnakers hoisted as a new and exciting downwind game begins.
photo credit: Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race
Jordi Calafat and Pablo Arrarte covering themself from an imminent cold shower, onboard
Telefonica Blue, on leg 7 from Boston to Galway
“Everyone is just lining up for what looks like a rip-roaring ride on the second part of this leg into Galway,” said Guy Salter, Ericsson 4’s MCM.
The outlook for the next 24 hours shows a big front coming in from the northwest and the fleet can expect some more typical trans-Atlantic weather.
“We have a lot of respect for the weather in the Atlantic. There is definitely that feeling here on our boat, which has done a lot of miles and is not the newest in the fleet,” said Delta Lloyd’s navigator Wouter Verbraak. “The first goal is to get the boat to Galway in one piece, and the second goal is to push hard when we can,” he said in a radio interview today.
photo credit: Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
On deck instrumentation onboard Green Dragon, on leg 7 from Boston to Galway

The crew of Green Dragon has been looking forward to this point of the leg. The forecast is for downwind sailing and much of it will be in very windy conditions.
“We have not sailed in close proximity to the other boats in weather like that, so it will be interesting for everyone. The whole leg is setting up for a grandstand finish in Galway Bay,” said skipper Ian Walker whose team has been taking strategic advice from the online gaming community as to where to position Green Dragon.
“It is providing a good source of entertainment, trying to decide what we should ask the gaming community to vote on. Sadly most of the options suggested would be very funny, but are far from acceptable,” he said. On a more serious note, he added that the experiment has been working well. “We had a lo
ng period where the strategic advice matched our actions, but it is clear that when the weather is very changeable or not matching the forecast, we need to react quickly.” What will the gaming community suggest for this portion of the leg?
photo credit: Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race
Straight into cold and windy conditions. Daryl Wislang is adding a new sheet to the jib and is holding onto it while Xabier Fernandez is pulling him towards the boat

Earlier, when Telefónica Black set off along the 175 nm southern perimeter of the ‘ice fence’, quite suddenly they hooked into the warm waters of the Gulf Stream – two knots of east setting current and 16 degrees Celsius water temperature.
“For two hours it felt like summer. Clear skies and a steady warm, southerly wind sweeping across our frozen faces,” wrote navigator Roger Nilson. However, just as quickly as it arrived, it was replaced by thick fog and colder water. For all crews, a little treat of salami or cheese was much appreciated when they finished a freezing watch.
Currently, just 12 miles separate pathfinder Telefónica Black, from Ericsson 4 and Telefónica Blue. Delta Lloyd leads the second string from PUMA, Green Dragon and Ericsson 3 who are having a torrid time after losing three positions at the scoring gate.
Telefónica Blue has averaged the highest boat speed of 17 knots over the past three hours and also holds the fastest 24-hour run of 269 nm. Computer routing software is predicting a finish in Galway early on Sunday morning based on current performance.

Scoring Gate Order 1. Telefónica Blue at 03:11.24 GMT
2. PUMA at 03:12.04 GMT
3. Ericsson 4 at 03:33.05 GMT
4. Ericsson 3 at 04:06.02 GMT
5. Telefónica Black at 04:36.54 GMT
6. Delta Lloyd at 06:16.00 GMT
Leg Seven Day 5: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)

1. Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) DTL 1596 nm
2. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +2
3. Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +12
4. Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermúdez/ESP) +16
5. PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +24
6. Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +37
7. Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +48
8. Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS
VOR Report: Leg Seven Day 5 VOR Report: Leg Seven Day 5 Reviewed by Panos Douros on Thursday, May 21, 2009 Rating: 5

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