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Freezer To Sauna

lundi 11 février 2002Information Volvo Ocean Race

The conditions that the crews of the Volvo Ocean Race have faced on this leg four from Auckland to Rio de Janeiro have been extreme to say the least. They started the race in Auckland in hot Summer conditions, went through the freezer of the Southern Ocean and now having rounded Cape Horn are on their way to hot and tropical Rio. The extremes of the last week have taken their toll on the sailors with minor injuries, cuts and bruises, along with the need to catch up on sleep, before making their way up the east coast of South America. This second stage to leg 4 will undoubtedly prove taxing for the teams attempting to keep their boat in the maximum amount of breeze possible.

The first stage of the leg in the Southern Ocean was all about keeping the boat in one piece and sailing on the limit, more physically demanding, but now with the difficult wind patterns the teams are faced with, this will no doubt prove more mentally taxing. The sailors also have to cope with the enormous change in air temperatures and weather which they are about to face, from full thermal suits, gloves and masks in freezing conditions amongst the icebergs, to the 28 degrees and 94% humidity currently in Rio de Janeiro.

News Corp found the ride just after Cape Horn the wettest of the leg, "Rounded Cape Horn in blazing sunshine and 20 kts of downwind sailing yesterday, but the Southern Ocean was not going to let us off that easily. The first night it blew 35kts dead on the nose, as we beat our way between islands in huge swells caused by strong currents. We are wetter now than we have been the whole trip, after a brief period of sun and warmth yesterday afternoon. It is good to get the Southern Ocean and all its ice behind us now.

John Kostecki was very pleased with their breakaway in the favourable tidal gate at the Estrecho de la Maire, a 20-mile wide channel between the eastern tip of Argentina and Isla de los Estrados where the current can run in places at up to eight knots. In spite of this break free from the fleet, he still believes that it will be a close finish in Rio, "We still have over 2000 miles to go and the fleet is still close after racing for 4500 miles. This next bit up to Rio will be very difficult tactically. Do you cover the fleet or do we go with what we think is best ? Tough call and unfortunately the weather is constantly changing in this part of the world. I think this race is far from over and as usual we will see the bulk of the fleet finish together in Rio."

The rest of the fleet were stuck in this channel, so much, that djuice decided to take a route which passed outside the island, gaining an amazing 23 miles on ASSA ABLOY, which took djuice into fifth place.

Yesterday, on Amer Sports One, the team of Paul Cayard and Roger Nilson were about to work extremely hard together on the weather information that was coming into the boat, "Roger [Nilson] is sleeping right now and I just finished making a matrix with all the different options, the mileage associated with each and a routing time for each with the MRF. When Roger wakes up we will get the latest models and maps and make our final plan for the day. We run all the information through all the options, twice. Roger uses a different routing software from me. He uses MaxSea and I use the Deckman. Although this is a lot of work it is good because we get two different readouts on the same information. All this will take place in the next 18 hours."

Team SEB Changes of plans for the mast and boat

Thursday last week, Ushuaia in Argentina was Team SEB’s first choice for the rendezvous between the wounded yacht and her replacement mast. During the weekend Team SEB realized plans had to be changed. There are only two planes which can transport a 28 metres long mast, and none of them were available in that area and it is doubtful either a Boeing 747 or the Russian Antonov can land on Ushuaia‚s runway. Getting the mast to the boat in Ushuaia (in the Beagle Canal) is just not possible, so Team SEB has chosen to take the boat to the mast instead. SEB has been rerouted and is now heading for Punta Arenas in Chile. She is still racing.

On Saturday, a cargo vessel called "BBC Anglia" was booked and sailed from Callao in Brazil to meet SEB at Punta Arenas. BBC Anglia is estimated to arrive on February 15th, and SEB is estimated to arrive on the 16th. To make a speedy rendezvous for the mast and boat, and making sure there is plenty of time for repairs and recovery, SEB will be loaded onboard this vessel and transported to Rio, where the mast will be mounted. The cradle that is already in Rio, will be demounted and flown down to Punta Arenas.

SEB will not cease racing until she is lifted out of the water or starts her engine. Until then she is racing and plans might change again depending on how the race develops during the coming week.

As Punta Arenas is a town inside the Magellan‚s Sound, Team SEB’s navigator Marcel realized they have no charts onboard of that area. Not surprising, as the normal racecourse is sailing by outside the cape (Horn) instead of using the inland channel of Magellan’s Sound. The new route means SEB will not round the legendary Horn, but enter the South America landmass by waterways on the Chilean west coast side and exit in Argentina on the eastern coast. In the narrow sound, SEB might need a tugboat to navigate. Team SEB’s shore manager is looking into that now, while Volvo Ocean Race Headquarters is checking into chart solutions.

The cargo vessel with SEB onboard will arrive in Rio on the 24th/25th of February.

Volvo Ocean Race Position Report, Day 16, 0959 GMT

PS Yacht Latitude Longitude DTF CMG SMG TFHR DTL DTL-C ETA PO
- 1 ILBK 52 39.00S 062 58.88W 02002 030 10.0 235 0 0 19 FEB 02 29
- 2 AONE 54 00.84S 062 36.00W 02063 061 13.5 244 61 -13 19 FEB 02 25
- 3 TYCO 53 41.52S 063 49.56W 02071 033 11.2 245 69 -5 19 FEB 02 18
- 4 NEWS 53 47.00S 064 22.48W 02087 016 10.3 217 85 +2 19 FEB 02 21
- 5 DJCE 54 30.56S 062 48.16W 02091 059 13.0 295 89 -12 19 FEB 02 14
- 6 AART 53 55.12S 064 34.24W 02097 011 09.2 230 95 +11 19 FEB 02 18
- 7 ATOO 55 56.40S 075 53.52W 02542 075 10.8 295 540 -2 21 FEB 02 7
- 8 TSEB 55 49.96S 087 58.44W 02947 084 07.5 164 945 +17 28 FEB 02 12

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