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Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing TeamCamperGroupama 70offshorePuma RacingTeam SanyatelefonicaVOR 2011

Neal McDonald: "Είμαστε 100μέτρα μακρυά, 4-5 μήκη σκάφους... και είμαστε έτσι για πάνω από 20 ώρες."

To CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand και το Team Telefónica τις τελευταίες ώρες αλλάζουν συνεχώς θέση στην πρωτοπορία του αγώνα, αυτήν τη στιγμή 1ο είναι το κόκκινο σκάφος και μόλις 0,5νμ πίσω του το μπλε.
Team Telefonica through the binoculars just behind CAMPER
(Credit: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race)
Οι δυο ομάδες είναι τόσο κοντά που ακόμα και φωνάζοντας μπορούν να ακουστούν... και η αγωνία είναι μεγάλη καθώς ετοιμάζονται να τερματίσουν στο μυστικό λιμάνι κάπου στον Ινδικό, και ακόμα και αν η διαφορά στο χρόνο του 1ου από τον 2ο να είναι μερικά δευτερόλεπτα η διαφορά στην βαθμολογία θα είναι μεγάλη για τα δυο σκάφη που προηγούνται και στην γενική κατάταξη, 24 βαθμούς για τον 1ο και 20 βαθμούς για τον 2ο.
Τα πληρώματα και στα δυο σκάφη δουλεύουν εξοντωτικά μιας και οι συνθήκες είναι ασθενείς και πρέπει να πάρουν από τα σκάφη τους ότι έχουν να δώσουν. 

Pablo Arrarte onboard Team Telefonica
(Credit: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race)
Ο εμπειρότατος, watch captain του Telefonica, Neal McDonald, περιγράφει: "Είμαστε 100μέτρα μακρυά, 4-5 μήκη σκάφους... και είμαστε έτσι για πάνω από 20 ώρες."
Μετά από μερικές χιλιάδες μίλια ωκεανού φτάσαμε στο σημείο να κάνουμε match race, κάθε μέτρο είναι σημαντικό" λέει ο
Diego Fructuoso, Telefónica’s Media Crew Member (MCM).
Εντωμεταξύ το τρίτο σκάφος πλέον δεν είναι το Groupama, αλλά το Puma του Ken Read, και 5ο είναι το Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 115νμ πίσω από τους πρώτους. 

Race director Jack Lloyd has seen most scenarios in his long career in sailing but admits that hoisting five multi-million dollar boats on to a ship in the Indian Ocean is a new challenge even for him.
"I'm anxious that these boats have never been loaded on a ship with the rig in before" Jack Lloyd - race director
And the teak-tough Kiwi confesses the logistical headache of loading by crane the 15-tonne craft complete with the 31-metre masts worries him more than most hurdles in a sport which is hardly a pursuit for the faint-hearted.
Race organisers have recruited the very best expertise in hoisting the state-of-the-art racing yachts with a DHL representative on hand to offer advice plus the five experienced shore crews of the remaining Leg 2 boats.
But Lloyd knows well how easily things could go wrong and cause very expensive damage to the Volvo Open 70s.
"I'm anxious that these boats have never been loaded on a ship with the rig in before," he said, surveying a relatively flat-looking Indian Ocean on a stiflingly hot summer's day.
"The problem I have is that if anything goes wrong, the first thing to get damaged is the rig and as we've seen in Leg 1 and Leg 2, they are very fragile.
"The head of the crane that's lifting the boat is so heavy that if it hits the mast or the rigging it will damage it. I'm anxious that something could go wrong."
Even if the five boats -- Telefónica, CAMPER, PUMA´s Mar Mostro, Groupama 4 and Abu Dhabi´s Azzam '' are successfully hoisted in the next day or so at the secret safe haven, Lloyd will not be able to breathe easily for long.
They face the same exercise on the Northern Emirates coast for the start of the second stage of Leg 2 and then again twice for Leg 3. The shipping of the fleet was necessitated because of the threat of piracy attack.
"We've got to do the maneuver 20 times and going into the water is no more certain of success than coming out of the water. So in 20 times, there's a chance that something will go wrong."
Neil Cox, shore manager of CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, reckons patience will be the key.
"I guess it's the fear of the unknown that's making quite a few people a little anxious. I wouldn't say anybody's nervous or anything but it's obviously different having a one-dimensional drawing of our boat and the ship and actually to bring the two together in real life," he said.
"There'll be a few surprises for all of us, I'm sure, and there may be one of us here (shore crews) who ends up in tears but we'll all just have to show that element of patience and respect to each boat as she tries to get on the ship and we should hopefully all be fine."
His opposite number, Tim Hackett, at PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, agreed.
"It's all about planning. Sure, if something goes wrong with the rig as we saw during the Leg 1 (PUMA was dismasted), that could be catastrophic. We will take it step by step," he said.

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