A report phoned in from the race course has Ericsson 4 ‘trucking along’ now just inside the Aran Islands. However they’ll need to gybe once of twice down the rhumb line to reach the finish. It’s windy and it’s rough out there, except in the shelter of the islands.Ericsson 4 is making near 20 knots over the water now. It’s a bit too dark to get images off the water – in typical fashion, the leaders are arriving in the middle of the only five hours of true darkness per day at this time of year!

Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race by Airman Dermot Molloy

Behind, Green Dragon is fighting valiantly to hold on to that third podium position, with Telefonica Blue closing fast. At 23:00 GMT, Green Dragon had a five mile buffer over the blue boat, with PUMA, in second place, just two miles ahead.

It’s down to the final stretch of the last open-ocean, offshore leg of this edition of the Volvo ocean Race.

The leading boat, Ericsson 4, is now approaching the Aran Islands, where they’ll leave a ‘virtual’ mark to starboard – positioned off the northwest tip of the island chain – before reaching along the length of the islands and then into Galway Bay and the finish line.

At 22:00 GMT. Ericsson 4 had 42 miles to run, and was making over 20 knots of boatspeed, with a 36 mile lead over the chasing group.

And that’s where it gets interesing. PUMA, Green Dragon and Telefonica Blue are all within six miles of each other on distance to finish. PUMA is just marginally ahead of Green Dragon and is the most southerly boat in the group. Telefonica Blue, furthest north, is four miles behind Green Dragon, who is sandwiched in the middle and desperately clinging to a podium position against her more fancied rivals. It hasn’t been easy, as navigator Ian Moore attests.

“The guys have been phenomenal,” he wrote when the team had about 120 miles to go. “We always feel we really have to work harder for every mile gained in this race and this leg has been no exception. To be in this position is through pushing harder, keeping the gear up longer, and brutal graft.”

Delta Lloyd lurks a further 20 miles back, with Telefonica Black (+72 from the leader) and Ericsson 3 (+102) completing the rankings.

If the wind holds, and Ericsson 4 keeps her pace up, she could finish as early as midnight. But sometime between then and 01:00 GMT on Sunday morning is more likely.

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Comments
  1. yachtspotter says:

    Sad to have missed this one…any updates?

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