It is the fourth day of racing in the Volvo Ocean Race and as morning broke it was with good news for the Spanish team, with “Telefónica” leading the fleet, thanks to a good choice with a westerly routing... “the place to go”, said Pepe Ribes rotundly. Sailing at 12.4 knots, making the boat led by Iker Martínez the fastest in the fleet for the moment, the focus is now on passing the island of Madeira.
Last night was productive for the Spanish team as they won the duel with New Zeland's “Camper”. At this morning's 07:00 GMT position report “Telefónica” was leading the fleet. The Spanish yacht was still holding that position at the most recent position report, with “Puma” at less than three miles away.
It looks like Franck Cammas' decision to stick close to the African coast was starting to pay off at midday today, although the French crew is facing now a different situation and they don't seem to be able to manage to get up to high speeds, currently notching up an average of 3 knots in the lulls. It's a situation that's likely to continue for the next few hours, as experienced Watch Captain on “Telefónica” Neal McDonald pointed out: “We've got light breeze today and in fact things are pretty relaxed on board right now, without too much physical effort going on, so we are back on form and back up to one hundred per cent. I've just had a chat with the Navigator and he gave me an update, but nothing to get excited about. It looks like the light breeze will continue for the time being, so I don't think the journey down is going to be too bad, although it's not going to be very fast...”.
American entry “Puma” is sitting in second position in the fleet, close to “Telefónica” on a westerly routing and setting almost exactly the same course. The New Zealanders on “Camper” were paying dear for their bet on the south and they have changed course to follow “Telefónica”'s trail. They have recovered now and are third with a speed of 12.3 knots.
The key now is which one of the two options; either the western call headed up by “Telefónica” or the southern option with “Groupama”, will be more successful rounding Madeira and getting close to the Canaries.
Time for checks
Little by little the sun and the heat are beginning to make an appearance, and Pablo Arrarte says that they were very welcome on board “Telefónica”: “We are now nice and dry and we haven't got much breeze going. We are happy, most of all because it's a chance for us to give everything a good check over, as it was a tough route out of the Med”.
PROVISIONAL RANKINGS LEG 1
ALICANTE (SPAIN) – CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA): 6,500 miles
Day 3 – 16:00 GMT, 8th November 2011
1st Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), 5,913.9 miles from finish
2nd Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), + 2.7 nm
3rd Camper Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), + 17.3 nm
4th Groupama Sailing Team (Franck Cammas), + 22 nm
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), suspended racing
Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), Leg 1 abandoned
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