Thursday, February 16, 2006

Half a boat length and half finished

So its congratulations to movistar. Not just for clinching a win on the 3rd offshore leg of the Volvo Ocean race, but also giving us spectators some variety in the leg position board. For once its not ABN AMRO ONE heading the fleet but having to make do with second place. But what a battle it must have been over those last few miles, with only 9 seconds and half a boat length dividing the two.

Then the improving Brasil and Pirates, followed by the ABN boys on TWO, no doubt eager to get cracking on fixing their main.

But not followed by Ericsson, or at least not officially. For Neil McDonald's boat has crossed the line but not finished, having suspended racing. They are rather cleverly taking advantage of the rules to do some urgent boat fixes without incuring any time penalties. Unlike movistar who's urgent keel work will mean they'll suffer a two hour penalty.

Its interesting to see that Ericsson are not blaming their poor performance on this leg on anything breaking. We've all had those moments when you fall out of the grove and nothing seems to work. But is the boat "one of the fastest in fleet" as Yachting World said? The evidence from the past few days is not that encouraging.

Meanwhile its congratulations to Dee Caffari for passing half way and is now passed New Zealand heading west towards Australia. As the Volvo crews downs some cold ones in the bars of Wellington she has for once a bit of nice reaching weather to look forward to.

Picture from Virtual Spectator

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