The ninth day of racing en route to Abu Dhabi (UAE) has kicked off with lots of changes and from second place "Telefónica" with Iker Martínez is holding onto her options with a bid for the west, near the island of Mauritius.
The current situation, with four boats within a 50 mile radius has made an impact on Diego Fructuoso: "It's some great racing, with four boats almost parallel to one another."
For now, according to the 16:00 GMT position report "Telefónica" is making the most of the 23 knots of easterly breeze and is sailing at 17 knots, the third fastest entry in the fleet, with her bow pointing north.
French boat "Groupama" is on an eastern routing and in the provisional lead, whilst in the middle "Puma" has passed "Camper". Only "Telefónica" has been able to get hot on the tracks of the French over the past 24 hours.
The Spanish team has managed to position itself as the second fastest entry in the fleet thanks to average speeds of 16.2 knots allowing the team to sail some 390 miles over the past 24 hours.
With the boats bunched together Pablo Arrarte is clear about what's going to happen: "Let's see if we can make the boat really run and if we can gain some miles on the rest. We've had the same situation for a few days now with the boats here around us; "Puma" over there to the windward side and "Camper" now behind us. It's the same fight and we've been giving it our all to see if we can beat them. We're going to get 'em!"
On board "Telefónica" the crew knows that the situation can take a radical turn at any point. "We know that once we get to the Doldrums anything can happen. We are running well and now is the time to push" said Fructuoso in his daily log.
Rattle and swell
On "Telefónica" the day to day becomes even more complicated at times, as Diego Fructuoso explains: "I just tried to make myself some cereals and it was impossible, as everything went everywhere because of a wave. We are really getting shaken up on here. Of course, it meant that I had to clean everything up afterwards and I was left with no cereals and a cloth in hand. Everything's more difficult: writing an email, getting dressed, sleeping, going to the toilet... But it's no big deal really as we are pretty used to it by now."
As to be expected the constant jostling around has direct consequences: noise. A noise which Fructuoso described as 'infernal' and Pablo Arrarte referred to it just minutes before starting his watch: "We're used to the noise. It really is loud but we get so tired and you just end up getting used to the slamming and jostling around of the boat. You get shaken around in the bunk. Every time the boat hits a wave you get pushed forward and your feet hit the bunk in front. You just get back into position, and well, we are pretty used to it and very tired so we do get some sleep."
Tomorrow more and better
Going by the weather forecasts the tough on board living conditions aren't going to improve any time soon and the fight to take the first stretch of the leg isn't going to be a clear cut call.
As Diego pointed out: "Cape says that we'll be in a similar situation tomorrow. After a tough week and so many changes in position it looks like the leg will be decided right at the end. I didn't believe my crew mates when they first told me that's what would happen, but it really does look like that's going to be the case."
PROVISIONAL RANKINGS LEG 2
CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA) - ABU DHABI (UAE): 5,430 miles
Day 9 - 16:00 GMT - 20th December 2011
1 Groupama Sailing Team (Franck Cammas)
2 Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), +37.4 miles from leader
3 Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), +247.9 miles
4 Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), +53.7 miles
5 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), +152.5 miles
Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), racing suspended
PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS. Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012.
1. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), 37 points.
2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), 34 points
3. Groupama Sailing Team (Franck Cammas), 24 points
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), 9 points
5. Puma powered by Berg (Ken Read), 9 points
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), 4 points
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