“Telefónica” is back notching up miles after a night with a change of course for the yacht to avoid getting stuck in a lull. As Iker Martínez himself confirmed today: “We are now really pushing on, bit by bit and things are going well. We've got back up to pace and little by little we are catching them up and moving forward”.
However last night wasn't straightforward, as the team's MCM Diego Fructuoso pointed out in today's blog from the boat: “We continued to try to gain East, but to do that we had to move further North but a wind shift to the stern meant that we had to fall back and lose the ground we'd covered. Now we are sailing with the spinnaker up and it looks like we are back with a good shift in the breeze. We are all eager for these chaotic days to come to an end and to be able begin gaining South”.
Picking up the pace
The 13:00 UTC position report confirmed that the Spanish crew had begun to log some good data, positioned on the second place of the fleet and as the fastest boat in her pack, because further North American boat “Puma” has really begun to devour miles at average speeds of 18 knots. The Spaniards have stepped on the accelerator and are sailing at 16.5 knots, thanks to southeasterly breeze of between 12 and 16 knots.
In order to get on the highway that will take the the fleet directly to Auckland (New Zealand) the boats must gain as much East as possible to catch the strong breeze coming in from the North. Joca Signorini said: “it's been really tough since we left Taiwan. We're not going towards New Zealand, but we are giving it all we've got. The weather's been really complicated. Yesterday we had a tough day, where we spent most of the time getting less breeze than the rest of the boats, but now it looks like we are catching up with them little by little and there's still a long way to go. Tomorrow will be difficult too, but we'll have to see. It looks like we might have a better routing once we're sailing with the trades”.
The optimism displayed by Iker and Joca is also reflected in Fructuoso's blog from the boat, as he writes: “Everything's ok now and we are going to push as hard as we can, as always. I'm sure that when the whole fleet gets some stable winds the Telefónica 'blue machine' will get up to full steam and will climb positions. We've also got Santa Cape on our side...”
Almost at the one-week mark on this fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race and Iker Martínez has been reflecting on these first few days on course to Auckland (New Zealand): “The start was tricky. We started early having won the initial stage of the leg, but it didn't help much. We started in darkness and soon after we started we were in a lull, everyone was bunched up together and the other competitors got a bit further ahead but all of them fairly bunched together. The first night was tough, the boats spearated up a bit and that's where the first few days of chaos for us began. There were a lot of shifts, a lot of changes and so many unexpected things that we couldn't even get comfortable in the place we wanted to be in at all and we lost a few miles. Not only that but we had a broken bobstay and that also knocked our concentration off focus until we set off and got going again. It cost us a few miles”.
Now, as the latest reports confirm “Telefónica” is recovering although the weather in the Pacific remains unpredictable.
Family, what matters most
On more than one occasion, different members of the crew have commented that without doubt, what they miss the most isn't a bed or sleeping for eight hours straight, nor is it decent washing conditions or a square meal. None of this compares to being far away from one's family.
Joca Signorini is the one most looking forward to getting to New Zealand on this occasion, and as the Brazilian says: “This leg is tough. For me it is even more so mentally as my wife is about to give birth. It's not easy to be here on board when she's at home. That's just the way it is and sometimes it's hard. With some luck we'll get to New Zealand in good shape and I can go home to meet my son”.
PROVISIONAL RANKINGS LEG 4
SANYA (CHINA) – AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND): 5,220 miles
Day 6 – 13:00 UTC – 25th February 2012
1 Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson) 4,364.3 miles from finish
2 Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), +49,1 miles
3 Groupama Sailing Team (Franck Cammas), +49,6 miles
4 Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), +52,8 miles
5 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), +54 miles
6 Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), +181,7 miles