With the island of Guadalupe astern, "Telefónica" is pushing forth to Miami (USA) whilst dealing with some tricky conditions posed by the light airs that the fleet is facing and a night with yet more shifts in the breeze. Even so, it looks like the Spanish boat is beginning to fight back, and yesterday, on May 3rd at 13:00 UTC "Telefónica" began to claw back some miles on the frontrunners.
Iker Martínez described how the past few hourss have played out in an email from aboard "Telefónica" early this morning: "Along the entire length of the coast of Brazil we've been fighting with 'Puma' and 'Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand'. 'Groupama' was left trailing behind and not long after "Abu Dhabi" was doing the same. Right now, as the fleet faces the final 1,000 miles of the leg, "Groupama" has moved in and may even enter the battle to take the le. However, the closest boats to that right now are 'Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand' and 'Puma".
With a new panorama on the horizon, Iker Martínez was clear: "If we manage to fend off 'Groupama' over the next few days it will be a good leg for us. If we manage to add passing the guys in front to that - or at least one of the boats, that would be great".
Meanwhile, the race organisers had a chat with Andrew Cape this morning with the navigator on "Telefónica" confirming: "Right now we're sailing at speeds of 12 knots with 10 knot winds and the forecasts are giving 10 knots for the next six days. Today is going to be a very long and slow day, I'm sure of it. There might be times when we get a gust of wind further ahead, but we won't know until we get some fresh forecasts through".
Approaching the wind hole
Little by little it appears that the forecasts are playing out and during last night the wind progressively dwindled whilst on "Telefónica Iker Martínez says: "The wind forecasts aren't looking good at all and in fact what we might have done in three days of sailing looks like it'll take us more than double that: six days". That's why according to the Spanish skipper: "the tactical decisions are tough and often we have to adapt them as we go. The truth is that we can't trust the weather forecasts with such light and unstable breeze and that's where intuition really becomes important".
There's no doubt that this turning point opens up an array of possibilities and "Telefónica" will look for her chance. "We're going to fight with all of our might to take the leg. Now we've hit a light patch and we have to stay alert and agile and we'll have to carefully think through anything we do", concluded Iker whilst Andrew Cape said: "We don't know what might happen from here to the finishing line and there'll be a lot of changes and we may go through some difficult moments. There'll be chances but there's no doubt that the team who deal with all of this the best will take the win. We are where we wanted to be, but now is the moment that we really have to do well. You have to set out a plan and carry it out. You have to sail your own race and not follow the others because otherwise you'll never get in front".
It's worth mentioning that during the stopover at Itajaí (Brazil) and bearing in mind the light air on the leg ahead Team Telefónica came to a unanimous decision to reconfigure the boat for light conditions. It's a matter of hours before "Telefónica" launches a counter attack.
Thinking Miami (USA)
Although all the charts point to the fleet taking a lot longer than expected to get to port, on board "Telefónica" thoughts are turning to Miami (USA) as Iker says: "The boat is good. We haven't had any damage so far, and oi hope that's the way it continues and that we'll get more of a rest than we will in Brazil, where we had to spend a lot more time on the boat than usual over the rest period because the shore guys had to work on the hull repairs and other things that had broken".
The Basque skipper certainly knows the destination port for this sixth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race very well, as he explains himself: "let's see how Miami treats us! We know it well from 49er sailing there, but it will be different this time: we'll be there with a big boat this time - a monster compared to the little 49er".
PROVISIONAL RANKINGS LEG 6
ITAJAÍ (BRAZIL) - MIAMI (USA): 4,800 miles
Day 12 - 10:00 UTC - 4th May 2012
1. Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read)
2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson)
3. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez)
4. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas)
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker)
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), DNS
*** Due to technical complications the race organisers are not able to provide any distance to finish data at this time.
Skipper Iker Martínez explains how is the situation on board "Telefónica" and tells us what has happened in the last 24 hours
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