35 knots on the nose, we can do without that. But it’s a lot better on board now. Personally everyone is in good shape. We broke our masthead unit and lost windspeed and direction and stuff for a bit, but we replaced that today, but that
The picture ahead doesn’t look brilliant for anyone, there is a big squall of nothing ahead of us as we have to move across this ridge that stands between us and going fast. It’s going to be a pretty slow next 24 hours, and the first to break through is going to be going great. I think it’s going to be a difficult approach. We’re just looking at it and will try out best.
We’re the first to get into lighter air so it’s always a case that the boats behind us could catch us, so but right now everyone is a threat, even Abu Dhabi. We could park here for the day and they’ll be right back here with us and choose a different path. Anything could happen here, it’s on for young and old.
We’re trying to minimize this. It could be six hours, but the whole situation could change, which it can easily, and it could be 24 hours. We want a 30 knot southwester, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re super excited, we’re in the 40s now, but we’re doing 10-15 knots at the moment. Eas no problem. We’ve been very lucky.
(Good 24 hours) We’ve had a pretty good run. Being to leeward a little bit helped us on “Puma” and they had some bad clouds yesterday too which was pretty unfortunate for them. “Groupama” slowed down when they hit the trough but we’ve slowed down too now. It just depends “Groupama” should get out first and hopefully us second. Then we’re off into a south-westerly breeze and off towards the North Island.
(Confidence in holding off “Puma”) I’m as confident as I can be for now but I’ll be able to tell you tomorrow. It’s hard to know. It depends on how we go getting out of this trough. It’s the last super tricky bit in this race now hopefully.
(Catch up “Groupama”?) Anything could happen at the moment. They might have tacked too early, or might not have got out into the new breeze yet. They’re only 100 miles away and we still have the coast of New Zealand to get down – anything can happen there. There are still opportunities – not big ones, but there are still chances.
(Next 24 hours) Apart from this light spot which hopefully we wont be in too long, it’s going to be strong upwind conditions from here on in. That won’t be very pleasant because the seas are going to be quite choppy. It might not be that nice but when you’re that close to home everyone just wants to get in so they’re focused on that.
(Looking forward getting off the boat?) It’s not that bad. Everyone’s had plenty of food and sleep. No-one wants to jump off the moment we see land. There’s no drama at all. We all know we’ll be finished in two days and we’re out here to race so it’s all good.
It's been a few days now since I last wrote to you. Time flies on here and between one thing and the next we're now 750 miles from New Zealand.
Things have changed for the better over the last few days. In the end the passage through the Solomon Islands was quite a success and we were able to get past “Abu Dhabi” and to position ourselves clearly ahead of “Camper” as well as moving in closer to “Puma” and “Groupama”... What more can you ask for?
Once we were to the West of the fleet, we got a few days of very shifty winds and we had to do a lot of sail changes. It was sail up, sail down and with that we managed to move in a bit closer to “Puma”.
Yesterday “Puma” were caught in a light patch, which we presume was caused by a cloud coming in from New Caledonia. Their stopping has renewed our hopes of getting some access to second place; now just 53 miles to windward and tomorrow we'll have a passage through some lulls that could easily mean we push forward or drop back. “Camper” is 50 miles from our stern so there may be little distance from the first to the fourth entries as the hit the finishing line.
The weather forecasts are showing some possibly tricky times ahead until the end of the leg: the first will a complete drop in breeze in 24 hours and the next will be once we get to the North Island where we have some 200 miles to cover until we reach Auckland and cross the finishing line. The first big key point will be tomorrow and then according to how we get out of there we'll see what happens further ahead.
We are all happy on board and already thinking of the stopover, where it's likely the boat will only be off the water for three days, so we need to get the job list and the priorities in order beforehand so that when we cross the finishing line the shore crew can get down to work straight away. That way we can get the boat ready in just a few days of leg 5 which is historically the toughest of the round the world regatta because of the cold and the strong winds.
We already knew that the fourth and fifth legs would have almost the same stopover but as this fourth one has stretched out and now it's more like a Formula 1 stopoff in boxes for a tyre change, to fill up the tank and push forward miles. In our case that'll be checking everything over, change whatever's broken, loading up the food and drink for winter, getting some thick socks, some fleeces and then it's down South to the cold! It's not normal for us to be thinking about the next leg before we've finished the one we're on, but in this case we've no choice and even though most of the work has been done now we have to focus on the lull tomorrow as it is likely to define the order of the finish for leg 4.
Fortunately we listened to Cape who was sure in China that this leg would last some three days longer than what the organisers had predicted, because if not, we'd have run out of food by tomorrow. Having eleven hungry little monsters on board could be crazy and we experienced that on the last one when the stay broke, not far from where we are now, and it was hell some unhappy faces indeed. This time around, we're not short on food and although we're all dying to get this tricky leg out of the way, let's see if we can get a bit of that much-needed luck and if we get a good day, as there are a lot of points in play. Also it's still hot and we've only gota day or so left of wearing shorts...we've got to enjoy it as much as we can.
Let's go get 'em! We'll see tomorrow...
A hug from everyone on “Telefónica” at 26.25S 162.46E
Don't suffer too much from on land!
Depending on the wind, anything could happen. Now we have good wind, we’re pretty much pointing south and we’re moving well. We’re very happy. We are in a very good position now. We still have 1,300 miles to go and we will probably see some more light winds in the future so we’re hoping they could give us something on the fleet.
The race is going to be very interesting from here on in. At the end of the leg each team is looking out for the others, and also a lot at the weather. “Groupama” has a very good lead and unless something drastic happens they should be able to cross the finish line in first. They’ve sailed a great leg, really dominated it. It would be great for them to win. We are a lot closer with “Puma” but we have to wait for maybe five or 10 more hours until the wind is more stable for everyone until we will know how strong our position is in the fleet. Anyway, knowing that we’re going to have light winds up to the end I think everyone will slow down, even “Groupama”. They are in a very strong position and it will depend on the weather. If nothing changes, I think the difference is enough to be easy for them to win the leg, but if they do stop then it might be possible to catch them but it all depends on the wind.
We’re all pretty happy. We’re reaching along pretty fast, about 90 degrees true wind angle with the number two. It’s pretty warm on board, smoking conditions actually. It’s more like what we’d expect on the next leg but the water’s a lot warmer! We’ve got nothing to grumble about.
It’s great to be making progress fast and it looks pretty good from here on in. In the next couple of days we can clock off some good miles. The sooner this is over the better!
The Doldrums have closed up a bit because of these very strong trade winds we’ve got, so they’re not going to be anything compared to the problems we’ll have once we’re in the Southern Hemisphere approaching New Zealand. The Doldrums aren’t too much of a problem right now.
Everyone’s happy. We’re not even halfway through the leg yet so there’s still a long way to go.
Things are good today, it’s been a great day for us. It looks like we’re going to be able to get away from this place that’s been making things hard for us. It wasn’t the best to be and we lost a lot of miles but it looks like we can get away from here and that’s a good thing for us for sure.
“Puma” and “Groupama” have lots more speed to the east. For sure once all the teams are in the trades “Puma” and “Groupama” will have a better angle and will get more speed out of their boats. We’re not exactly where we wanted to be but it’s where we are, so we have to try hard to sail well and move forward.
Everyone’s positive on board, everyone’s very good. The boat is in good shape and we’re working hard. We just weren’t in the right place. Now we have to fight hard because there are still 4,000 miles left. We have to keep fighting. When everything is going ok it’s easy to win the leg. If it’s only going ok, it’s not going perfect, then it’s much harder. Now we have to push hard. Only time will tell, but for sure we know how to make the boat go quickly so we just need to keep doing that and hope it goes well for us.
It’s always good when you have a baby like Joca had today. He’s been waiting so long for this moment. He had been hoping his wife would give birth during the Sanya stopover so he could be at home but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I feel sorry for him and for Lotta because I know how special this moment was for both of them but we’re out here racing, doing what we want to do, so I think Joca is happy and Lotta also. I have told him Lotta is going to have a good recovery and the baby will be fine. I promise you Joca is super-happy.
We had a chat with Capey and he has told this to us... With the low pressure situation off Japan everyone has chosen to go north away from the rhum line to wait until the tradewinds are established again which could mean we have to sail another 1000 miles east.
It looks pretty stupid and is really pretty stupid but it’s the best way to get to New Zealand unfortunately.
Was this unexpected:
Yes it was expected. You had two options – you could have headed south and maybe taken a loss inshore, which I think possibly could have worked, unfortunately with the fleet going one way that would have meant going out on a limb. Going south would have meant thousands of miles of separation so you have to toe the line a bit and make the choice to stay with it (the fleet).
The thing is you are making a choice for 15 days time, which you don’t really know and you are going off the forecast 10 days. The situation in the southern hemisphere could be affected by storm systems so we don’t know what will happen at this stage.
Has this been the most challenging leg so fat for a navigator:
I wouldn’t say that. It’s certainly been tricky with a lot of pitfalls, the forecasts have never been as expected. It’s been interesting with a lot of things happening and there is still a lot to happen in the next couple of days.
Feelings on their position, still in contention:
Very much so. Obviously we are not where we want to be – about 15 miles off the lead but the distance to finish is pretty irrelevant, it’s all about your positioning in relation to the coming breeze. There’s still a lot of things to be ironed out but we are just doing the best with what we’ve got.
Local conditions, fast run overnight:
It’s not been too bad, there haven’t been too many clouds. It’s just one of those things we just got a nice angle and off we went for a while. It’s exactly what the other guys did to us a few hours back. It’s just one of those swings and roundabout things. In this big frontal line, big cloud line, people get bursts every now and then.
It happened to us last night, I don’t know what’s going to happen to us tonight. I think the whole thing could change around a bit tonight.
How much sleep:
Not that much at the moment, I got a little bit earlier. There will be plenty of time when we start heading south – we just need to get through this section really.
Thoughts on "Puma":
They were next to us yesterday when we were in the light winds. They chose to go north to await the breeze and…interesting….I mean once they get the breeze they are looking for they will be on course and going quite well, but yeah they have some catching up to do.
There isn’t much out here, we don’t have lots of wind. It’s a tough day for us. We see that the others doing well and we are here, with little wind. We hope to get some to start playing a little!
When we left (the straight), we wanted to go east but the wind was unstable. We went on what we thought was the fastest side there (ie. south). After one hour and half, we saw all of the sudden that the others in the north had more than 20 knots of wind while we were in light airs. So we went on their side (ie. north, ie. weird track) to get the same wind. We got it but we lost it rather quickly. It has been the same all day: the guys next to us have wind but we cannot get it. It’s frustrating. We do our best with very unstable wind.
Because of these conditions, in general terms, it’s tough to decide where to go. There isn’t much to do but the computer. You have to go where you want to go, make the most out of what you have… We haven’t been very lucky but I hope it will change. If not the difference will be too big.
We haven’t been very lucky and we didn’t sail very well. We also had a small issue, we had to fix something on the bowsprit. We had to stop yesterday. We now sail as normal but it costs us.
When are they hoping to head south? No idea!!!! I wish I knew, but it’s complicated. I guess everyone will head towards NZD when the wind will be more stable.
We do our best. Everyone sailed a lot onboard and we all know everything can change in these unstable conditions. We aren’t the happiest people in the world but it’s normal! The guys aren’t that happy ‘cause we aren’t where we want to be, but we keep pushing hard.
It's now been a couple of days since we left China. This is our second night of racing and things aren't exactly going as we'd like them to be.
Our small head start in China wasn't of much use in the end: soon after we started we hit a wind hole with no breeze, just four miles from the start and we were all bunched together again.
Once some steady breeze moved in each of the boats took their routing with “Groupama” and “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” further down and “Abu Dhabi” close to us, more to the windward side. With the shift we'd waited for we all tacked and then we were on the leeward side. On this long tack to starboard we got a bit of everything, but with no great differences. The biggest was that “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” was still close-hauling in their usual fashion, luffing a lot more than the others and slower than the rest, which has paid off over the last two days.
We've had a rocky afternoon. The breeze shifted considerably into us and we had to tack. Apparently it wasn't a bad sign, but when we saw the report we saw that the shift had been just a local thing and whilst we we sailing as high as we could the boats to the windward side were doing so luffing 20 or 30 more degrees than us, so we had to get out of the area and to line ourselves up with the three leaders, but this time behind them. It was a shame because what we'd been doing had looked good, but it went to pot pretty quickly.
It looks like 'Puma' really did make a big loss, which is what we tried to avoid by any means. It looks like until we find some steady easterly winds are going to get some pretty chaotic breeze, so it's better for us to be patient because this might just be the beginning of some crazy days ahead.
There's not much breeze, but the boat is moving around a lot because of the waves and the adaptation these first few days is tough. In general there are a lot of headaches and little appetite on board, which isn't a good thing, but all we need is a small transition for our bodies to get used to the constant rocking around.
The crew is well. The boat too.
Greetings from on board “Telefónica”
It’s not too bad out here – moderate. We’re very lucky the race didn’t start on the original start date. It’s bumpy for sure but it’s not too bad now. The wind is down under 20 knots which is not the end of the world.
When we came out of Sanya it was clear the sea state was going to be pretty bad. You can see how destructive it would have been had we set off on schedule. I’m pretty confident we wouldn’t have had all six boats racing by now. It’s still bumpy now so it’s taking a long time to die down. With the current as well it’s a very uncomfortable part of the world.
The breeze is diminishing and we’re looking for a bit of a shift. The whole fleet tacked north towards Taiwan. It’s going to get quite tricky in the next few days as we transition between weather systems. There are still a lot of things to be sorted out yet but the next 24 hours will be more slogging away upwind still.
Our position to the north is where we wanted to be. There’s still a lot of miles to be done but we wanted to position ourselves to make sure we stayed in good breeze. The breeze is shifting right now. There’s still a long way to go but we’re confident.
Everyone’s ok on board. I’ve got a bit of a headache and a lot of people have coughs and colds picked up in China. Apart from that we’re all healthy and ready to go.
Iker Martínez. Skipper.
We are very happy, very. In fact it's a rather strange sensation and my heart's still racing. It was a very tough regatta, the most dangerous I've sailed yet, there's no doubt about that, and there have been many very tricky moments, not just for the crew but from the point of view of the boat being damaged or a serious problem cropping up that would have had an impact on the rest of the regatta. We've managed to deal with it all and to compete at the same time, and look, here we are, and to top it off we're winning, so I'm really happy, still a bit shaky, hopefully I'll relax a bit soon so that I can enjoy this a bit more. Even here, just having finished we've had problems: nets, fisherman, sand banks... things that can get very complicated very fast, so it's been stressful.
The key to this leg has been sticking with the fleet the whole time and fighting for every mile, not taking any risky decisions and as always I think, we've been sailing the boat to one hundred per cent. It's very hard to stay at one hundred per cent for two whole weeks and the guys have done a splendid job, keeping the boat at a very high level of performance for many many days on end and I think that when it comes down to it, that was the key. When the boats are together you have to race fast and to do that everything must be in the right place, Doing that hour after hour is very hard and the entire crew are doing a great job.
Andrew Cape. Navigator.
That was a toughie! I certainly won’t get used to it to winning, it won’t last forever. We’re taking it one leg at a time. It’s a good win, we’re very happy. Right from the top of Sumatra it’s been really difficult. There were so many hazards and you can’t take your eye off the ball for one second because that’s when bad things happen. It was a very taxing leg, a lot harder than I expected. Everyone is ecstatic – we’re all happy to be here and very relieved.
Xabi Fernández. Trimmer.
This leg has been tough because we started off with some problems that thankfully we overcame and we managed to get to Malacca at the front. Getting to Malacca in first place and getting out in first place was really tough, but it was also incredibly positive for the upwind stretch over the past four or five days, which was tricky.
The most crucial point was exiting Malacca in first place because that's where we started close-hauling and whoever's in front always sets off with an advantage. After that it was a more tricky upwind stretch than we had expected, because there were lots of shifts and the forecast were off target, but anyway, I really think that the key to the leg was getting out of Malacca in the lead.
Pepe Ribes. Boat Captain on “Telefónica”.
We are over the moon. It was a win that we worked very hard for as we started off at the very back. It's a very difficult thing to win three legs in this regatta. Everything's going smoothly and we haven't got any complaints.
In this race there were lots of key points on the course, not just one. I think that the first 24 hours were really tough for us, because breaking the bobstay, which keeps the boom up meant that we thought we were out of the race as we knew that the Code Zero would be in heavy use on the way to the Strait of Malacca. We knew how to fix it and we came back, we fought and we got to the Strait of Malacca in first place.
Cape has been masterly at positioning the boat according to the met and Iker has been perfect at the head to head confrontations we had with “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” in the Malacca Strait and also against “Groupama”. Once again the teamwork has been fantastic, fighting right down to the last second and pushing for a bigger lead the whole time.
Jordi Calafat. Helmsman and Sail Inventory Coordinator.
The key to this was a combination of things. We have a fast boat that holds up in all conditions and the work on manoeuvres by the whole crew has been very good. Apart from sailing the boat fast, the most important thing is the decisions taken in terms of where to go, when to tack and when to gybe and I think that once again, they did a great job at the chart table and that's more or less the basis of it all.
Joca Signorini. Watch Captain.
It's amazing to have taken a win in the three first legs. It's been very tough and there's a lot of competition in the regatta and this leg has been very, very tough. The Malacca stretch, crossing the Vietnam coast, so many fishing boats, so many nets and lots of boats in Singapore... It's been very dangerous some of the time, but we're really happy. Over the past three to four days we've hardly slept, but now we've got a 3-0 result for “Telefónica”, although there's still a long way to go.
Antonio “Ñeti” Cuervas-Mons. Bowman.
This has been a real boost morally and to speak in footballing jargon: this is a 'hat-trick' for us. This was a leg that went well for us. We began with a breakage but we came back from it and we got into Malacca in the lead and since then both Iker and Cape have come up with some almost perfect sailing. We are very happy because everything has turned out well for us and it's another win in the bag.
Zane Gills. Bowman .
I couldn't believe how heavy the traffic was in the Malacca Strait and the heat was very taxing. Then coming up the coast of Vietnam was extremely exhausting on the bow and for everyone on the boat. I was only just saying to the guys how sore my arms are this morning. I've lost a lot of weight and have really felt it this leg.
We spent the last day in one of the most dangerous sailing places of the leg. We were a bit nervous, the fear of having an accident was strong.
We also managed to race and were lucky with the wind – we got what we wanted going close to the Vietnam coast. As you can imagine, we are ready to arrive to China now!
The plan is to sail to windward to open the sails a little when coming to Sanya. It will vary with the wind though, we might have to change our plan at the last minute.
We are now sailing upwind… Well we’ve been upwind since we left Singapore. Upwind all the time, without stopping… At least we are now on a strait line!
It’s very tight (the fleet). If anyone does a small mistake, the ranking can change accordingly.
We enjoyed this leg, yes, because racing these amazing boats is great. But this is also the most dangerous leg I’ve done in a long time. We sailed between ships, we sailed close to the coast, in shallow waters and with lots of fishermen boats.
We enjoyed it until now because everything went well, because the fight was great, but it has been exhausting for everyone. Especially these 3 or 4 past days… Which didn’t help us to enjoy it very much.
Of course, I’m proud of our crew. They did an excellent work. We’re happy ‘cause the result is great. Everyone did his job well while helping each other.
It’s not been too bad. We have had 25 knots but the waves we have been sheltered from the worst of it as we are in shallow water. So all in all it is not been too bad.
(Thoughts on PUMA’s move out to the east) Interesting – very interesting. Don’t know how it is going to go – nobody does. We will just have to wait and see. We did what we thought was right and they did what they thought was right and its not clear it is going to work. So we are pretty comfortable with where we are and we will see in 18 hours.
You have got to pick the right place to tack – the right angle. If you tack too early you could end up with the wrong current. At the end of the day you have to go where you think is best and temper that a bit with where the opposition are and modify it a bit. Just to make sure you hang on to what you have got.
There’s a fair bit of traffic around but after the Malacca Strait this is nowhere near as bad. If you go very close into the shore you might bump into fishermen but we are staying a little bit off.
Everyone is quite positive and feeling good. We have got plenty of food but not a lot of rest. It’s been quite tough with quite a lot of tacking and its not over yet. It’s been hard but everyone sees the light at the end of the tunnel and you know there’s plenty of time to recover then.
Sorry I haven't been in touch for a while, but lately we haven't had a moment's peace to sit down, relax a bit and write without the worry of letting something important slip in the process.
It's not that we're much more relaxed now; we've gone from having the race more or less under control and all of the others behind us to “Groupama”....
You won't believe it but between the line above and now, two and a half hours have passed, two tacks, two sail changes and all of the crew out on deck because of a cloud with 25 knots blowing throughout... I shouldn't have said anything!
So anyway, we're calm but unsettled and we continue to lead. After the fleet scattered away from us we decided to go for a less risky option and to set course East, letting “Groupama” head off freely to the North, but minimising the risk posed by “Camper”, “Abu Dhabi” and “Puma”. The latter is the boat that has taken the biggest risk with a very radical eastern routing. It's impossible to say what'll happen further down the line...
With the whole affair at the start of bringing the boat down off the ship, getting it ready and everything we started the leg with all of us fairly tired. I've needed much more sleep on this leg than on the other two. There's no doubt that I was tired before the start and it shows in the sailing, so now it's full steam ahead to China and after that I'll try to relax and recharge my batteries for a few days before getting everything ready for the next leg.
The boat is doing well and the emergency bobstay repairs have saved the leg for us and the crew are very happy about that. We're seeing winds on a heading of 55-60 and when it hits 65 we'll be much more relaxed, although it's a tricky situation. Once we get to the Vietnam coast we'll have a much better idea of the real positions of the yachts, so we'll see tomorrow. I promise I'll keep in touch!
Greetings to you all from on board “Telefónica”,
It's hot, number one, environmentally, very hot on board. We've got Groupama three miles behind and we're feeling pretty good actually. It's been a tough couple of days but everything's good.
I can't put into words how relieved I am to get out of that place (the Strait). It's a nightmare and I'm really really relieved that nothing went wrong and even happier that we managed to start in first place and finish there. There's serious relief all round. Its' good to be out.
We've just got to work out the best way to get to the finish. Unfortunately that involves heading up towards Vietnam, where there's stronger winds particularly on the corner. We have to take that on and hopefully it won't be too bad and the winds won't be super strong. So we just have to make sure nothing goes wrong. That will be a very tricky stage. Hopefully the next day will be pretty straigthtforward but the Vietnam part will be very tricky indeed.
We're too close to Groupama! Groupama are right there and we can see PUMA in the distance. They're way too close (for our liking). It's going to be tight with Groupama. They're a good team and very hard to get rid of. It's going to be very interesting to watch.
You have to react when they do something very quickly because you don't want to take chances when they're that close. You have to react very fast to their manoeuvres.
We're OK now. I had a good sleep after we left the Strait but there was no sleep before that for most of the crew...with a manouevre every five minutes, which you had to do right otherwise you have a big problem... It's been very taxing for the crew.
Going upwind's never pleasant but luckily the forecast isn't over strong. I wouldn't say it's dangerous conditions like we had in the last race. We just have to adapt to it really. It's a pretty uncomfortable place to sail, with obstacles in the way again -- there's oil rigs, islands, mud banks and everything you can think off, plus a huge amount of debris in the water, with logs and trees. But that's the game we've got so that's what we've got to do.
And we're pretty good at going upwind as well so from that point of view there's no complaints.