The high speeds that “Telefónica” has been notching up will dwindle over the next 24 hours because in a question of hours wind speeds are expected to take a radical nosedive. That will open up a new bag of options for the Spanish boat. The objective on board Iker Martínez's “Telefónica” remains firm, with Pablo Arrarte summing it up clearly and to the point: “Now we've got to push forward as fast as we can and see if we can put up a fight with the guys in front and try to get this leg in the bag”. For now, there is still a lot left to be decided.
The past 24 hours have been punctuated by constant shifts in the breeze, pushing the “Telefónica” crew to maximum working pace aboard the yacht. “We've had a fair bit of breeze over the past 24 hours and have been sailing fast. We've done a few sail changes because the breeze has been shifting so much but we haven't yet managed to catch up with the boats immediately ahead of us. They've sailed very well but there's a long way to go with some very tricky conditions, so anything could happen”, explained MCM Diego Fructuoso in his daily report.
At 13:00 UTC, “Telefónica” continued to battle with the Americans and the New Zealanders and whilst the first placed entry was 19 miles ahead of the Spanish boat's bow, the second placed crew were 14 miles in front. As Pablo Arrarte says: “Over the last few days there have been times when we've gone faster, and times when they have, but we're here. They've got away a little bit but the wind is beginning to drop and we hope that we'll be can pick up again and recover the miles we've lost”.
High speeds towards the Caribbean
It's been rare for “Telefónica” to have slipped below the 20 knot average speed mark over the past 24 hours, hitting 22 knots in some reports with winds of between 19 and 23 knots coming in from the east, although it's been very shifty.
Also, with Iker Martínez and co topping 20,5 knots averages, the boat has covered another 493 miles, with now less than 1,500 miles separating them from the finishing line at Miami (USA), where the sixth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race will finish.
However, there are still many days of racing ahead and “the breeze is set to drop today and stay like that for many days. There's not long to go until Miami – 1,500 miles, but they look like they are going to be difficult”, explained the team's MCM from on board the boat. Pablo Arrarte backed that outlook up: “In mileage terms there's not far to go, but in terms of days, there's a long way to go. The forecasts look like we might be stuck here for another ten days covering these 1,500 miles, but we're hoping they won't come good. We think that there'll be a little more breeze than they say, and that's what we're hoping”, before finishing: “With the rationing of food supplies things aren't looking good. Xabi and I are pretty hungry already, as I suppose the rest of them are, but that's the way it is. It'll do us good”.
To add to the difficulties on board is the stifling heat: “The temperature on the boat has soared and with the whole Equator thing it's incredible how hot it is inside the boat, but that's the way it is. We spend the whole day sweating and that's that. We're used to it and it's good for our diets”, Pablo joked.
On board birthday
Diego Fructuoso was keen to signal an important date for Team Telefónica: the 2nd of May, the day that the VO 70 turned one. The boat's 'birthday' took place with her leading the overall rankings for the round the world regatta, having taken three of five offshore legs raced so far.
“It was exactly a year yesterday that our boat touched the water for the first time in Alicante. It seems unbelievable that it was just a year ago. Beforehand we went to King Marine (the shipyard where the boat was built) at Alginet, Valencia, for a month so that we could help out and get to know the boat. Then “Telefónica” was put on a lorry to Alicante where she was put straight on the water. We sailed a bit there and then towards the end of May we transferred to Marina Rubicón in Lanzarote where we stayed from June to the end of August. After that we went back to the mainland, first to Vigo and Sanxenxo and then to Alicante for the start...” commented the Spansih MCM from on board the boat, before adding: “We are very happy with the boat we've got and we hope we can do her justice”.
PROVISIONAL RANKINGS LEG 6
ITAJAÍ (BRAZIL) – MIAMI (USA): 4,800 miles
Day 11 – 13:00 UTC – 3rd May 2012
1. Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), 1,430.4 miles to finish
2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), +4.6 miles
3. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), +18.7 miles
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), +111.8 miles
5. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas), +145.7 miles
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), DNS
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