Iker Martínez and “Telefónica” have put the obligatory waypoint of Pulau We behind them. The boat is now navigating the difficult waters at the Strait of Malacca. “Telefónica” pushed past the coordinates 5º 53 N - 95º 19 in first place today, Friday 27th January at 12:10 UTC. The Spanish team was therefore well into one of the most complicated stretches on the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 course, the Strait of Malacca.
Since taking the lead in yesterday's 19:00 position report, the Spanish team have been tied up in a battle of tacks with main rivals in pursuit, second and third placed entries: “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” and “Puma”. The three boats have stayed within close proximity of one another over the past hours and with this morning's 10:00 UTC position report just a mile and a half lay between them. Three hours later however, the official tracker data for the race put the bow to bow difference between the Spanish and New Zealand boats at three miles.
Seven intense hours
Iker Martínez and his guys were the first to tack away from the island of Sumatra (Indonesia). Later a shift in breeze to the right and the influence of currents meant getting closer to the coast, where they tend to be less potent. There was a tack to the bow of the kiwis and the crew remained focussed on following the correct heading to get past Pulau We without performing any unnecessary manoeuvres.
A mere glance at the tracking map for the race shows the constant tacks in the fleet, with “Telefónica” guarding the windward side and marking the fleet, especially Ken Read's “Puma” who moved in very fast, getting much closer to Pulau We than the NZ or Spanish boats.
Past the island of Pulau We “Telefónica”'s bow was pointing on an East-Northeasterly course and was sailing in a straight line and almost in parallel with “Puma”, whilst “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” continued almost exactly in the wake of the Spanish yacht. Published the 16.00 GMT position report, ESP-1’s heading is 26º (N-NE), exactly the same than “Puma” and the kiwi crew.
Another achievement for the Spanish crew
The crew of “Telefónica” have another major achievement to note down, this time well into the Indian Ocean: they have overcome one of the most difficult situations to crop up on a round the world race – breaking something during racing. They have gone from being 20 miles behind to getting through the entire Gulf of Bengala to the Strait of Malacca not just having repaired the boat, but having made up the miles, having caught up with the rest of the fleet and even overtaking the other boats before entering into the Malacca waters.
It's been over 1,000 miles since the crews left Malé (Maldives) and yet again, the excellent seamanship and approach to strategy of the “Telefónica” crew has been on display for all to see.
Watching out for what will happen in the Malacca Strait
One stretch of the leg has finished and another begins, with Navigator Andrew Cape describing it as 600 miles of sailing to the Singapore Strait with some light breeze. Obstacles to negotiate range from cargo ships to local fishing boats, to nets, shallow areas and even bandits, not to mention the instability of the breeze which is thrown into the mix.
There's no doubt that the very high levels of shipping traffic in the area is one of the main concerns on board. The team's MCM Diego Fructuoso pointed that out today: “Sailing at night with so much shipping traffic is incredible. It's going to get worse. We need to be careful to avoid unpleasant surprises and to avoid sacrificing too many miles if we find ourselves forced into varying our course.”
PROVISIONAL RANKINGS STAGE 2 - LEG 3
Day 6– 16.00 UTC – 27th January 2012
1. Groupama Sailing Team (Franck Cammas), 1,686.7 miles from finish
2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), +1.5 miles
3. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), +1.5 miles
4. Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), +6.9 miles
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), +9.2 miles
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), +26.6 miles
Together they form one of the most solid crews in the round the world regatta. 11 talented crew members who together make up a single crew. The members ...
Over 30,000 people gathered on shore and hundreds of boats were on the water at midday today in Auckland (New Zealand) (23:00 UTC) to greet the three boats that had ...
It's now a question of hours before "Telefónica" reaches Auckland (New Zealand), the final destination port on this fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Only 110 miles are ...
“Telefónica” has been involved in a veritable tacking war with America's “Puma” whilst New Zealand's “Camper” continues to gain South and it looks like sooner or later the boat will ...
In second position, “Telefónica” continues on course to Auckland (New Zealand) with “Groupama” in their sights, currently some one hundred miles ahead . Astern America's “Puma” is 12.5 ...
Now with under one thousand miles to go until Auckland (New Zealand), “Telefónica” isn't giving an inch in its battle for a podium spot on this leg of the race, ...
At the height of New Caledonia “Telefónica” with Iker Martínez is hoping that on the approach to Auckland (New Zealand) the breeze will drop significantly, as the latest forecasts indicate. ...
The approach to New Caledonia promises to open up some scope for the fleet, and over the past 24 hours, “Telefónica” and the rest of the fleet have begun to ...