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Volvo Ocean Race: Is it just another day at the office for Telefónica as pressure piles on?

16/12/2011
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Earlier today, some were describing the current weather situation for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet as the ‘nightmare zone’, but for navigator Andrew Cape, cool, calm and collected as always, it was just another day at the office on board overall and leg leader Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP).

“It’s hard but this isn’t the worst we’ve had. At least it’s not super windy. It’s unpleasant but it’s just like a good day in the English Channel and we’ve all done that before. It’s something you’ve just got to do,” said the veteran Australian navigator, whose home in England is on the Solent.

But, by 1900 UTC, the situation was changing and the pressure was piling on the leaders. The north/south divide had again widened to 188 nautical miles (nm) as Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas/ESP) continues her dive further south. While she has more miles to sail, down at 37 degrees south, she has a 15-knot southwesterly breeze and is heading east at around 15 knots and making huge gains.

CAMPER (Chris Nicholson/AUS) is now in second place and PUMA’s Mar Mostro (Ken Read/USA) has moved up to third. Both are at 35 degrees south and, with a better breeze, they are sailing 12 to 14 knots, which is moving them nicely up the leaderboard. Telefónica, at 34 degrees south, is achieving half their speed and Ian Walker and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam, is suffering the same fate, moving slowly at 34 nm further south.

Meanwhile on board Sanya (Mike Sanderson/NZL), the team reported damaging the tack line which holds the code zero sail to the deck when the boat was slamming hard in 20 knots of wind. It is not terminal and the crew is busy effecting repairs in order to put the sail to good use again later in the leg. They have, however, dropped to fourth position and lost a few miles to the leader this evening.