Volvo Ocean Race: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing hangs on
Ian Walker and the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team have done a good job managed to keep their nose in front as over the course of last night they negotiated the ridge lying between them and the Lisbon finish line.
Positions at 0855
|1||Abu Dhabi||Ian Walker||40 41.430n||012 32.430w||14.7||124||194.29||0|
|2||Groupama||Franck Cammas||40 06.650n||013 28.130w||16.3||118||214.23||19.94|
|3||Puma||Ken Read||40 42.420n||013 17.430w||13.7||128||223.08||28.79|
|4||Camper||Chris Nicholson||40 14.400n||014 01.200w||11.7||118||240.58||46.29|
|5||Sanya||Mike Sanderson||41 21.320n||013 15.350w||9.3||120||244.43||50.14|
|6||Telefonica||Iker Martinez||40 04.030n||014 15.830w||6||116||247.67||53.38|
Knowing that the light patch was going to entrap them, over the course of yesterday the boats fanned out across the ocean positioning themselves in a last ditched attempt to make gains. Leader Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing was furthest north with Puma and Sanya on a track 11 miles to their south, while the remainder - Groupama, Camper and Telefonica - took an option just over 50 miles south of the UAE boat.
The wind started to shut down for the boats in the north first with boat speeds on Abu Dhabi and Puma dropping below 10 knots mid-evening , with speeds down to sub-5 knots by midnight for all except Sanya which had chosen to edge further north.
Most disturbingly for Walker's team, going into the ridge the boats in the south kept the breeze for longer and managed to close and close, and from being 15 miles behind during the day, Groupama pretty much drew level with Abu Dhabi shortly after midnight.
However by around 0300 the wind had competed its 180° turn for the boat in the north, filling in from the northeast Abu Dhabi got back up to speed first and able to regain all of her lost advantage, with Puma briefly pulling up to second. The boats to come off worst in this latest reshuffle have been Telefonica and Camper to the south, both still wallowing at the latest sched.
Over the course of today the wind is set to back into the north, and there may be a little more breeze on Groupama's side of the course, born out by the latest sched which shows the French boat sailing a knot and a half faster than Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. So it could be that by tonight we see a neck and neck dash for the line. Watch this space...