Volvo Ocean Race: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing hangs on

VO70s through the ridge and now making a head down dash for the Lisbon finish line

Thursday May 31st 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

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.

Chart above courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and GRIB (GFS model) from PredictWind

Positions at 0855

Pos Boat Skipper Lat Lon Spd Crs DTF DTL
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...

 

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