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Leg One Day 11 1900 UTC Update: Tradewind sailing tantalisingly close

As the fleet racing in leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race continues to make swift progress through the notoriously fickle Doldrum belt, the southeasterly tradewinds are almost within grasp.

"The equator looms and there will be several victims for King Neptune to deal with tomorrow"


This evening however, the leading pair - - PUMA’s Mar Mostro (Ken Read/USA) and Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) --  have dropped to around seven knots, while CAMPER (Chris Nicholson/AUS) still has the pedal down and is averaging 15.9.

Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas/FRA) is struggling at 9.8 knots average and 254.9 nm behind.

It could be as early as tomorrow morning, that the fleet hooks into some much-awaited breeze and begins its drag race towards the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha, a non-scoring mark of the course which they must leave to port.

For CAMPER (Chris Nicholson/AUS), it continues to be a question of keeping in touch as best they can and not letting the leading duo of PUMA and Telefónica (Iker Martinez/ESP) extend their lead further.

Although Franck Cammas’ Groupama 4 crew are trailing, watch captain Damien Foxall says,  “we are more than a little way behind, we’re a long way behind, but we were mentally prepared for that.  The gains at the moment are more down to fleet compression than boatspeed.”

According to Foxall, it is more important for his team to take the small gains and make sure the boat is at 100 per cent.

At 1900 UTC tonight, PUMA’s Mar Mostro’s lead had expanded again as Telefónica dropped two nautical miles and both CAMPER and Groupama 4 had inched a little closer.  CAMPER gained 24 nm on this sched and is almost through the 100 nm barrier, just 103.9 behind PUMA’s Mar Mostro, but although Groupama 4 has gained five nm, this evening she is still 254 nm in deficit.

Onboard, there is some anxiety among the crews as the equator looms and there will be several victims for King Neptune to deal with tomorrow as early as 0600 UTC for the leaders.  But, for the rest of the crew who have already been granted rite of passage by King Neptune, it is business as usual, trying to gain as many miles as possible on each watch.


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