At sea. Volvo Ocean Race: Sanderson fails to trick the fleet
Positions 0400 GMT Day 13
Photo: Positions 0400 GMT Day 13 - click picture to enlarge
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Friday, 14 April 2006
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As the Volvo Ocean race fleet exit the trade winds and head into unpredictable and potentially stormy waters, the teams are all in agreement that west is best. After days of sailing north west on one gybe, all the yachts gybed today to set themselves up for the changeable conditions. These temporary course changes didnŐt last long, some for under an hour before they gybed back.

Although this is adding to the number of miles the yachts have to sail to the finish every team is in agreement that this small term loss is worth it. Leg leader ABN AMRO ONE (Mike Sanderson) decided to play out some sneaky tactics this afternoon, hoping to conceal his gybe from his rivals. He explained his plan before this position report.

“Right now we are in the middle of this massive stationary front, and so very changeable conditions are to be expected, that makes sched time all that more stressful as you really have no idea how you have been going. A pretty classic example of that was just in this last report where movistar and us are only 30 miles apart and we had wind directions that where 60 degrees different! There will be some big games of snakes and ladders going on while we are in this stuff.

“Right now we have timed our gybe so that it was just an hour before a position report so that the guys behind couldn't really tell which gybe we were on. Now we have to wait another six hours until we know whether they have followed us or continued on the same way as before, we think our play to the west will be a short term loss, but that we should get paid back for it by tomorrow afternoon, hopefully with some interest, time will tell.”

Sanderson will have realised by now that the fleet followed his team, across west or simply had the same idea. Either way it means that no yachts gained or lost from the tactic. Movistar (Bouwe Bekking) has gained only one nautical mile on the leader, while Brasil 1 (Torben Grael) gained two and The Black Pearl (Paul Cayard) and Ericsson Racing Team (John Kostecki) stayed the same distance. The Dutch sister ship was the only yacht to lose out but luckily for them, only by a mere two nautical miles.

Heading for the New World

0400: Fleet leaders are now positioned 950 nautical miles east of Miami. As they pass the Bahama Islands they are 650 miles off the east coast of S. Salvador Island, which was the landfall of Columbus in 1492. But our fleet have their eyes are set on their own particular landfall, Baltimore US of A.

The gap between the tow lead yachts ABN AMRO ONE (Mike Sanderson) and second placed Movistar (Bouwe Bekking) and the rest of the Volvo fleet has widened as the night has gone on. Pirates of the Caribbean (Paul Cayard) reported slow progress in a rainstorm a few hours earlier, but seems to be covering the pace now.

At 0100 gmt ABN AMRO ONE started on a very much more northerly course, Movistar and Pirates of the Caribbean are still steering north westerly.

Leg 5 day 13 GMT 0400 GMT position report
Last Updated ( Friday, 14 April 2006 )
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