To windward of the fleet. The "Telefónica" strategy holds firm in a Caribbean that has thrown up some surprises including light patches and squally showers for the fleet to negotiate. With the fleet now at the thirteen day mark in the leg "Telefónica" has pushed through the barrier of one thousand miles to the finishing line and is mentally preparing for what is going to be a slow pilgrimage to Miami (USA), the end point of this sixth leg in the race which began back on April 22nd in Itajaí (Brazil).
"It's been a very long and difficult day and this looks far from being finished. We'll get plenty more days like this before we are done," advised navigator Andrew Cape.
Defending the East. Thinking ahead.
Over the past 24 hours the Spanish boat skippered by Iker Martínez has managed to defend a position to the east of the fleet despite the proximity of main rivals "Puma" and "Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand" to be able to head towards the west with the other boats.
At 19:00 UTC, Martínez and co pounced on second place and moved 13.5 miles in front of the ''octopus". However, "Telefónica" is focussed on long-term decisions and with their minds already steps ahead the decision to move northeast again to make the climb up further away from the Caribbean islands and the finish was taken, losing sight of second place... It may take some losses now to reap some gains further ahead.
Between lulls and showers
The team's MCM Diego Fructuoso informed us on this Saturday morning from aboard the yacht that the build up of the past few days was over and it was finally here: the forecasted drop in the breeze had arrived. In the early hours of the morning it was already clear that wind speeds accompanying the three boats at the front of the fleet -"Puma", "Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand" and "Telefónica"- had dropped as they made their way through the Caribbean, sitting at just four knots at 07:00 UTC today.
"We're less than one thousand miles away from Miami and we have been slowed down completely. Thankfully our rivals are in the same situation" said Fructuoso.
In this morning's 10:00 UTC position report the situation has stayed pretty constant for the Spanish and Kiwi crews, sailing at 3.3 and 1.9 knots respectively, although the difference has allowed Iker Martínez and co to continue to move in on Chris Nicholson and co to just 6.6 miles from "Telefónica".
Leaders "Puma", who chose to gain west over the past few hours, have been enjoying more breeze than their immediate rivals and have been trying to open the gap up, which their closest competition won't permit. For now, the distance remains below 25 miles.
The squalls haven't let up either, with what Fructuoso describes as “the biggest squall I've seen so far in this round the world regatta, and possibly in my life. The wind picked up and it rained a lot."
However it was a treat for some, with a few of the crew seizing the opportunity for a good shower, including watch leader Joca Signorini: "Joca took the opportunity to grab a decent shower. I did too and we were really grateful for it," the Spaniard told us.
"We're all doing well, looking forward to finishing. Tomorrow we'll have been racing for two weeks and the last few days are always the toughest and can seem never ending. Having our closest rival in the overall standings, ‘Groupama’ behind us is a boost. We hope to get out of these calms and to catch the north winds as soon as possible, which is the breeze we're likely to get up until the finish," he concluded.
Mousse to toast a new arrival
It's more good news for Team Telefónica, with a new arrival to the team as a second baby of the round the world race so far is born. The guys on the boat were keen to celebrate: "On 'Telefónica' we were all thinking of Blair yesterday (a member of the shore crew), who we all refer affectionately to as 'Tony Blair', as he became a dad for the first time yesterday. We are all really happy for him and we seized the chance to celebrate with a chocolate mousse and to toast him in our way. A big hug from us all!”
PROVISIONAL RANKINGS LEG 6
ITAJAÍ (BRAZIL) - MIAMI (USA): 4,800 miles
Day 13 - 10:00 UTC - 5th May 2012
1. Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), 973.9 miles to finish
2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), +17.5 miles
3. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), +24.1 miles
4. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas), +61.6 miles
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), +72.7 miles
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), DNS
To windward of the fleet. The "Telefónica" strategy holds firm in a Caribbean that has thrown up some surprises including light patches and squally showers for the fleet to ...
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 ...
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 ...
On course north and almost at the height of French Guiana, Iker Martínez and “Telefónica” are hoping that the Doldrums will permit a new attack on their most immediate rivals: ...
With the Southern Hemisphere now astern, “Telefónica” continues on course for Miami (USA), now in second place following a night of gybing for the Spanish boat. The aim was ...
This Saturday night seen the most crucial point of the leg so far. Past Cabo Branco the fleet rounded the northeastern corner of Brazil to finally commence their encounter ...
With the Brazilian city of Recife now astern, “Telefónica”, “Puma” and “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” have entered a three horse gallop towards Miami on this sixth leg of ...
“Telefónica” has begun to claw back miles, currently on a northerly course and from third place in the rankings, the Spanish team is exerting pressure on their most immediate competition ...