Team Sogeti continues to lead the Archipelago Raid in the closing stages of the race 30/6/06

The leading boats on Leg 6 of the Archipelago Raid finished in Mariehamn Åland around 1030 CET on Wednesday morning under crisp blue skies with a fresh breeze form the north-west at 18 knots.

The leg took seven hours starting in the middle of the night in Lappo (Finland) in similar conditions. For almost 90 miles the competitors were battling it out in one of the toughest and longest legs of the race. Winners of the leg and also leaders of the overall ranking were the Volvo Ocean Racers Woxen (SWE) and Foxall (IRL) on Team Sogeti.

Number two in the ranking had a shocker in this leg. The British team – Sunnucks and Self on Team X-Leisure – broke their spinnaker halyard and lost 20 minutes fixing it. They were last in 21st position but regained and managed to finish 15th.

Volvo Ocean Racer Magnus Woxen of Team Sogeti commented: “This is a very long leg. It feels okay, but we know it is going to be even longer. We try to save energy where we can but the pressure is always on. It is really nice to be up here.”

Miguel de Frahan BEL (Team Garmin RSBC) added: “I am tired? It was very difficult. But we are very happy with second place. But when you are really tired and on the trapeze wire al the time and take the time to look around you, one feels a lot better straight away. It is so amazingly beautiful here.”

Leg 7 Crossing the Baltic Sea Channel: Dutch win

Gunnar Larsen and Gerhard van Geest (Team Yamaha blue) won the leg across the Baltic Sea in style. The open stretch of water between Finland and Sweden. It was a fantastic crossing in extreme sailing conditions with big waves, wind from the north-west decreasing from 20 to 15 knots. With a south-westerly course this was a fast, two-sail reach to start with that ended in an even more spectacular spinnaker reach.

At the front of the fleet the racing was very tight between Eric Proust en Gerard Navarin on Yanmarin (FRA), Will Sunnucks and Mark Self on Team X-Leisure (GBR) and the Dutch. Two thirds across the channel Larsen en van Geest were the first to hoist the spinnaker and were off. In the end near to Fejan they were surprised by the local teams who took a treacherous short cut. Anders Lewander on Tidermans gained a lot by that move but on the finish line Larsen and van Geest were victorious.

The first teams finished the 32 miles long leg in approximately two and a half hours. Within minutes most of the teams sailed across the line in front of the Fejan Krog. Second were the English Will Sunnucks and Mark Self. Third was local favourite Anders Lewander on Tidermans. Magnus Woxen and Damian Foxall followed close behind in fifth place on Sogeti, defending their first place in the overall ranking successfully.

Leg 8, a 36 miles long leg in the Stockholm Archipelago, started last night at 1830.