On course for Miami (USA) and the fleet continues to push forward, clearly divided into two groups. The boats have also begun to establish their positions on the final stretch to the trades, which promises to be very intense indeed. “Telefónica” has chosen the east and is facing 24 crucial hours. According to the most recent position reports, the Spanish crew is logging excellent data which has allowed the team to move in closer to the top of the fleet at a furious pace. Pablo Arrarte seconded that from aboard the boat itself: “Now we're really off”.
“Puma” overtook “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” during the early hours of the morning and it looks like the eastern option, chosen by the Americans, French and the Spaniards has translated into faster speeds than the rest of the fleet which is sailing further west and hugging the Brazilian coastline.
Pablo Arrarte was optimistic about the coming 24 hours, which will surely be crucial for the fleet, “we've had very little wind, just four or five knots during almost the entire watch, and in the past hour it has picked up to ten knots, so now we're really off”. That is also confirmed by the 13:00 UTC position report, which shows that the Spanish team has begun to sail at faster speeds. At the same time yesterday the crew were notching up average boat speeds of nine knots and now “Telefónica” is notching up 13 knot speeds and is positions as one of the fastest boats in the fleet for the past 15 hours with averages of 17 knots.
Sailing at a good pace in the South Atlantic, “Telefónica” covered 345 miles in the past 24 hours, one more than the provisional leg leader, “Puma” and 34 more than closest rival “Abu Dhabi”, with the blue boat also shaving the impressive sum of 34 miles off the gap standing between them. Now Iker Martínez and co are just 9 miles from Ian Walker and his crew, although it's worth noting that the boats have chosen some very different tactics and whilst “Telefónica” is to the east, “Abu Dhabi” is west.
“The truth is that we've had very few moments where we've seen 0.00 on the clock, and all of them short. We saw it a couple of times last night, but just for a few minutes, so that's good. The boat has pushed forward almost the whole time and we've seen from the reports that we've been moving in little by little on the boats in front, so we're happy. It looks like the breeze has move in now. So let's see if we can really push away a bit”, confirmed Pablo Arrarte from on board “Telefónica”.
The crew of “Telefónica” has total confidence in Andrew Cape and Iker Martínez's knowhow. “Cape thinks that our option is the safest. We'll be able to see how it has worked out in a couple of days, because we have to get through a very complicated zone and as I said, it might be very important in terms of further ahead. The most positive thing so far is that we have 'Groupama' very nearby, who are our most immediate competition in the overall rankings”, explained Diego Fructuoso in his daily log from the boat. It has been 24 hours since the Spanish boat began to move in on the frontrunners and now the boat is over 21 miles from the leader, or in other words the boat has made 26 miles.
For Pablo Arrarte, “Telefónica”'s strategy is already beginning to pay off, and according to the young Spaniard: “As always we're pushing as hard as we can. This is going to be a tricky leg and we are going to give it our all. Do we have a good feeling? Well, we hope to. We've started well, we are pushing along where we want to be. We chose this tactic and we're following through with it, so we'll just have to see if the weather forecasts come good and if it all goes well for us”.
Fructuoso also talked about how the eleven crew members on “Telefónica” have been getting used to life on board: “We're now all fully adapted to life aboard the boat. The adaptation process was good, perhaps partly to do with the conditions we've had. Everything's going well down here, the food we've got is good and we are very happy. Patán (Arrarte) has lost a shoe and s thinking about cutting into his boots to come up with a special 'Patán design' shoe.... so we'll see how that goes”.
PROVISIONAL RANKINGS LEG 6
ITAJAÍ (BRAZIL) – MIAMI (USA): 4,800 miles
Day 3 – 13:00 UTC – 25th April 2012
1. Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), 4,035.8 miles from finish
2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), +5.7 miles
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), +12.1 miles
4. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), +21.1 miles
5. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas), +37.9 miles
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), DNS