The cards are on the table and the crew on “Telefónica” have placed their bets: they are taking in the Solomon Islands through the middle, between Choiseul and Santa Isabel. There's no doubt that this archipelago positioned in the middle of the Pacific will make an impact on these final miles of this fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. On the approach to the archipelago “Telefónica” has logged some good data, sailing at average speeds of 16 knots, allowing the boat to cover 386 miles in 24 hours – 46 miles more than the French entry and 56 more than the Americans on “Puma”. Hours later, the New Zealanders and the Chinese took the same routing in an attempt to knock the current leg leaders off the Auckland (New Zealand) podium.
The final 2,000 miles of the leg won't give the fleet a moment's rest. The pack has split into two on the approach to the archipelago situated to the East of Papua New Guinea and whilst “Telefónica” leads the group sailing between the islands, “Groupama”, joined by “Puma” and “Abu Dhabi” have gone East, looking to move away from the islands.
If calculations are on target, in ten hours time, fifteen at most, the Spanish team will be sailing in what are unknown waters to them, a situation that Iker Martínez must go up against. Diego Fructuoso spoke from on board “Telefónica” with no hesitation today: “We are at an important point on the leg. If we get through this zone well anything can happen in terms of the final results table. The good thing is that the two boats behind us are both on our same routing, so if this doesn't work out we'd get through in fourth, just behind 'Camper', our most immediate competition in the general rankings”.
The final results for the leg may depend to a considerable extent on who gets through this new zone first, and as such, optimism on board the boat is at a peak with the opportunity to continue climbing positions in the rankings. “If it goes well, our options for the podium could be fairly big, and who knows if we could do even more... But we can't think about that now. We have to sail as fast as we can and to see what we find when we get there”, confirmed the Spanish MCM.
A night of recovery
It was an exceptional night for “Telefónica”. Yesterday at 16:00 UTC the Spanish yacht headed up by Iker Martínez was back holding third place and during the hours after that “Telefónica” starred in a spectacular recovery that put the yacht less than three miles from the Americans on “Puma” and pushing them as far away as 45 miles from “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand”, now in fourth, thanks to the excellent average speeds notched up by the Spanish team during the night. For three position reports in a row “Telefónica” was the fastest boat in the fleet. The lateral distance between the Spanish and American entries is also worth noting, currently standing at over 200 miles.
At 13:00 UTC today, “Telefónica” with Iker Martínez was maintaining a pure southerly course at the height of the island of Choiseul, with 15 knots of easterly breeze, with the boat also notching up average speeds of 14 knots.
Life goes on... even when it's on board the fastest monohull in full racing mode. Zane Gills, one of the youngest crew members on “Telefónica” is celebrating his 29th birthday today, and of course there will be a surprise in store for the sailor. With the special day here, Fructuoso told us: “We'll be singing him happy birthday later and giving him his presents from his girlfriend”.
The team's MCM took the final lines of his blog from the boat on “Telefónica” to send his best wishes to his brother, who also celebrates his birthday today: “It's also my brother's birthday, so I couldn't forget today....Happy Birthday!”.
PROVISIONAL RANKINGS LEG 4
SANYA (CHINA) – AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND): 5,220 miles
Day 13 – 13:00 UTC – 3rd March 2012
1 Groupama Sailing Team (Franck Cammas), 1,945.5 miles from finish
2 Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), +85.9 miles
3 Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), +101.4 miles
4 Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), +149.1 miles
5 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), +153.8 miles
6 Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), +206.5 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 ...