VOLVO OCEAN RACE / Leg 4
Turning the heat up
Saturday 16 February 2002 –
For News Corp right now, times are extremely tough. They are sailing a balancing act between pushing the boat hard enough and not letting Amer Sports Too through and keeping their temporary steering working efficiently without putting it under undue pressure, which could cause further problems for them. In addition to the difficulties they are facing just sailing the boat, the afterguard has to keep the boat in the correct part of the racetrack to not make any further losses. Ross Field, co skipper, wrote, "It’s frustrating and we constantly have to check ourselves from pushing too hard. If the emergency steering breaks we would be ’up the creek without a paddle Paddle #standuppaddle #paddleboard ’. The helmsman has to sit on the cockpit floor holding onto a long tiller. It’s hard work and they only last half an hour at a time. We’re working on the boat during the day to shorten the work list in Rio. We are monitoring the progress of Amer Sports Too - at present we look safe from her." At the same time that they are working on the boat, they are compiling job lists for the shore team to get straight into, when the boat arrives at the finish, "Our spare rudder, which has been stored in England, is now on its way to Rio and will only take a few hours to fit. We have prepared full work lists for our boat builder, riggers and other shore crew who are waiting in Rio.
Kevin Shoebridge from Tyco, who are desperately defending their second position, wind direction was the main thought in their minds to catch illbruck, "The latest sked is in and the fleet keeps getting closer. illbruck has taken the biggest losses, losing some 50 miles today. We are losing a couple each sked so now Amer Sports One, djuice and ASSA ABLOY are all within 10 miles. Very tricky racecourse with very uneven pressure across it. We are all starting to gybe and pick our position for the long starboard [tack] towards Rio. There’s one thing for sure the first five boats will all be arriving very close together, amazing when you consider we have sailed 6000 miles already. It’s strange how a six-hourly position report and a little thing called wind direction can totally rule your life, is that normal?"
The Brazilian Current and water temperatures were filling up the tactical minds on djuice, "The Brazilian Current is a tricky one. I remember so well four years ago when we insisted a little on a gybe to avoid the current and ended up with even stronger current against us. The fact is that the hot water is running south in this area. To avoid it, you have to be pretty far east, so we believe it’s more a matter of more or less against you. At the moment we have about one knot against us, which we can live with. The water temperature is still 22 degrees, which means we haven’t entered into the real hot flow, which should raise the water temperature to at least 24 degrees Celsius. If we assume that we all are in unfavourable current, what is left to make a difference is the wind and pure boat speed Speed #speedsailing . That’s what I believe this will come down to", wrote Knut Frostad.
ASSA ABLOY’s navigator Mark Rudiger was a little concerned that he was hoping for an easier time in the final stretch into Rio. There was no chance to catch up on any sleep though, "Since we all pretty much picked our slots and are running on the favoured gybe, there aren’t a lot of options strategically, and I felt it was a good time to catch up on some sleep and chill out a little. But wait, the last two skeds have shown there is plenty on still. illbruck second-guessed incorrectly how we would all gybe and has lost huge bearing to Tyco and ASSA ABLOY. Likewise Amer Sports One second-guessed and lost to djuice and us." He finished on a more philosophical note, "Everyone should be proud of the accomplishment, winning just always makes it that more sweeter."
Paul Cayard on Amer Sports One was also watching wind direction like a hawk, "Just now as I am typing, the wind is lifting a bit and that is a worry. It comes and goes, puffs in and out. Kind of like trade wind sailing." He was also anticipating a tight finish, "After last night’s unfortunate rudder failure onboard News Corp, there are four yachts all within 15 miles of each other with illbruck sprung out in front, probably only vulnerable to a complete shut off of the wind in front of Rio. For Amer Sports One, ASSA ABLOY, Tyco and djuice, the last 24 hours 24 hours 24 hours best distance covered records of this look to be decisive so it will be a very intense time."
On Amer Sports Too the increase in air temperature was giving added problems, "I have learned a new word this leg - and the meaning of.... chilblains. Having got used to numb cold feet and hands for so long, the stinging, achy and sore sensations of the thaw are proving very uncomfortable for this crew. Hopefully within a few days the aches and pains will go and we will all acclimatise to our new surrounds," wrote Lisa McDonald.
Volvo Ocean Race Position Report, Day 21, 1558 GMT
PS Yacht Latitude Longitude DTF CMG SMG TFHR DTL DTL-C ETA PO
1 ILBK 31 43.32S 046 05.36W 00551 029 11.3 264 0 0 18 FEB 02 29
2 TYCO 31 59.96S 047 04.24W 00584 028 11.5 288 33 -2 18 FEB 02 19
3 AONE 32 24.00S 045 40.56W 00585 025 12.6 293 34 -6 18 FEB 02 24
4 AART 32 16.68S 047 02.24W 00599 032 11.5 288 48 0 18 FEB 02 20
5 DJCE 32 20.84S 046 51.76W 00600 027 11.5 282 49 -2 18 FEB 02 14
6 NEWS 35 28.96S 048 27.24W 00804 040 07.6 218 253 25 20 FEB 02 19
7 ATOO 38 31.04S 053 43.20W 01082 042 11.5 267 531 0 20 FEB 02 7
8 TSEB 53 10.16S 070 54.40W - - - - - - - -