Wet, wet, wet

After a long wait, the Volvo boats are now deep in wild country

Saturday February 2nd 2002, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: Transoceanic
Volvo Ocean Race Position Report, 2 February 2002, 0400 GMT
1 NEWS 5205 119 17.3 360 0 0
2 ILBK 5209 123 17.5 372 4 -3
3 TYCO 5220 111 17.9 362 15 1
4 AONE 5227 122 15 339 22 13
5 TSEB 5228 133 18.2 335 23 -9
6 AART 5229 119 16.4 339 24 6
7 DJCE 5235 112 17.9 357 30 0
8 ATOO 5369 105 14.6 302 164 27
    "The holiday is over," reports Kevin Shoebridge from Tyco. "Southern Ocean reality has arrived today." Shoebridge goes on to report that they are currently sailing in 25 knots of cold wind from the south. He says jib top reaching at tight angles is not a lot of fun and the crew is very, very wet. At least they are making good progress towards Cape Horn.

    Tyco is positioned right bang in the middle of the main pack all of who are enjoying, if that is the right word, blast reaching conditions. Though it may be fast, this is the wettest point of sail for a V.O.60 with solid walls of water regularly foaming back down the deck as the bow buries in the wave ahead. "Will not be sorry to see this part of the race gone," says Shoebridge, adding, "there are definitely better ways to enjoy yourself on a yacht."

    This is a view echoed by Knut Frostad onboard djuice. "We have been so busy down here, trying to speed djuice up on this bloody tight and wet reaching. It's certainly not our favourite speed angle, and some painful position reports have again showed us that we need to get some westerlies soon, so we can catch up the few miles we have lost."

    As has been pointed out many times before, losses and gains at this stage of the leg are of much less importance then strategic positioning on the track. To this end, six of the boats are all very close together with only the Amer Sport boats separated from the main bunch. Onboard Amer Sport One, Grant Dalton continues with his more northerly track, separated by some fifty miles from the main bulk of the fleet.

    Though falling behind in the standings, Dalton's lonely course does offer some advantages. While the wind are lighter, they are also coming from a freer angle. While the rest of the fleet have been jib top reaching, Amer Sport One has managed to keep her kite up. The big question however is where will the next shift come from?

    Further north, Dalton also has the advantage of a lower iceberg risk. Though the water temperature is still quite high, small growlers blown north by the wind have been sighted. Nick White, navigator and meteorologist aboard News Corp described it as "many small growler and fragments."

    Amer Sports Too is also far to the north, and falling increasingly behind. Now sailing in significantly less wind than the leading yachts, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the all-women crew to catch up, with the boats ahead in stronger breeze ahead simply stretching their lead.

    With the wind forecast to free and perhaps increase some more the days of the wild Southern Ocean ride are just beginning.

    Page two.... Nick White reports from News Corp
    Page three.... a small fire onboard djuice

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