"Telefónica" is now sailing in the Atlantic after a rough Mediterranean ride. Yesterday (Sunday 6th November) the Spanish entry crossed the Gibraltar Strait in second place "with the boat all in one piece and the crew all in tact! Of course we were in need of some rest, food and water to recover from the first 36 hours of racing", said Skipper Iker Martínez. A tough duel began with the Kiwi crew on "Camper". Now, according to the latest position reports the boat led by the double Olympic medallist is holding second place with the New Zealand crew in front, just 1.4 miles ahead (2.6 km).
It was a productive night on board "Telefónica", with more than 450 nautical miles covered. The past 24 hours have been focussed on a duel with the Kiwis and the third day of racing in the Volvo Ocean Race broke with the Spanish entry in the lead. The Americans climbed during the night to overtake "Groupama", currently third. Just four miles between them and at an average speed of 8.7 knots, as Iker Martínez pointed out: "We are back up close to "Puma" and the New Zealanders. There's very little breeze and we are trying to fill the sails but with only momentary success. The good thing is that we have all been able to sleep a bit and to eat well. We are starting to work up a routine according to the watches and to eat at night."
The Canaries, the next key point
A forecast of light breeze for the next few days and the crew on "Telefónica" have already got their sights set on their next objective: the passage through the Canaries, as Diego Fructuoso reports: "Now we are going to pass near the Canary Islands, that place where we have done so much sailing and I hope that the boat will know the way and that we can finish first". Meanwhile, the Spanish yacht's Skipper said that "for the time being we've only got a few broken lines, nothing much and they've been sorted out and now we are ready to try to get through the lulls ahead over the next few days".
A clean passage through Gibraltar
Thankfully for Team Telefónica the passage from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic was perfect, as Diego Fructuoso explains: "The passage through the Strait is always tricky because there are so many boats. It's incredible. I was chatting to Cape (Andrew), our Navigator who has a lot of experience and he said it went really well. We got really close to some boats, but everything was under control. We had no surprises".
With the first stretch of the leg out of the way Iker Martínez weighed everything up following the unrelenting Mediterranean: "We have now managed to get out of the Mediterranean. We've had two very intense days since the start. As you saw, we got away quickly from Alicante and the course down to Cartagena was very wet with over 20 knot speeds all the way. We got to see all of the boats at speeds of above 20 knots for the first time, but it didn't last long because at Cartagena we pointed our bow towards Cabo de Gata and there we fully close hauled. That's when the double Olympic medallist says the fleet experienced some of the most heart-stopping moments so far: "The darkness had drawn well in when we couldn't see Abu Dhabi any more, and later we heard the news of them dismasting. All of us felt a pit in our stomachs with the news and the guys from Azzam certainly didn't deserve damage like that. We really feel for them and we hope that they will get the second mast up quickly and head on back out to South Africa as soon as possible. We had a good battle with "Camper", "Puma" and "Groupama", firstly with very little breeze close to Cabo de Gata and then later on again but with heavy breeze. I think there were some ten tacks from cape to cape, which was tough for all the crew. That's where everything took a bashing again: a reef, another... The breeze filled in up to 35 knots and the short Alboran waves claimed another victim - this time team "Sanya" with structural problems. That second serious incident caused a shift in perspective for us all. It became clear to us that safety was the priority and we didn't want to risk any breakages, deciding to sail close to the coast where there was a lot less swell and less breeze".
PROVISIONAL RANKINGS LEG 1
ALICANTE (SPAIN) - CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA): 6,500 miles
Day 3 - 16:00 GMT - 7th of November 2011
1st Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), 6,042.9 miles from finish
2nd Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), + 1.40 miles behind leader
3rd Groupama Sailing Team (Frank Cammas), + 2.40 miles
4th Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), + 4.10 miles
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), racing suspended
Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), racing suspended
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