All to play for


illbruck's Stu Bannatyne assesses the form for the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race
Assa Abloy won leg 5 after a very long and tense battle with both illbruck and Tyco. This leg more than any previous one had all the boats sailing very similar courses so it essentially became a boatspeed race. The fact that the three lead boats spent so much time alongside each other proves two things. Firstly the Farr boats have a speed edge over the rest and secondly, among the Farr boats there is very little difference in performance. I'm sure that had News Corp sailed in the same piece of water as us they would have been fighting tooth and nail the whole way there too. Sadly for them they continue to play the edges of the race course and it definitely was the wrong way this time around. I'm sure too that SEB and Amer Too have the potential to be contesting the lead also. This leg of reaching showed up the deficiencies of the Frers boat and the Davidson boat on this point of sail. Dalts must be having a horrible feeling of deja vu, "have I picked the wrong boat again?" It was a leg that showed how important a good build-up is. The teams that came through are the ones that had the best two boat test programme running before the start with a lot of time spent sail testing. Most of our sail testing was spent on reaching sails as the angles from around 80 degrees true wind angle out to about 125 degrees true wind angle is the range for the most potential speed gains. In our testing we would often have 20 minute tests won by hundreds of metres while testing different reaching sails. By discovering these big differences we had the time to fine tune sail inventories and crossover

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