The fleet has split and the gulf between the two is considerable
Having banked plenty of leverage in breaking from the pack and heading north soon after the gateway, Ericsson 3 have been adding to a substantial lead ever since.
As the fleet negotiates the first ice gate, and sets itself up for the second en route to Cape Horn, a split has developed and the gulf between the two factions is enormous.
By the 16:00 GMT Position Report yesterday (10 March), E3 were in first position at 43 degrees south with a 230 mile advantage over sister ship Ericsson 4 – with PUMA a further 19 miles behind.
For the boats lying further south (46 degrees) – Green Dragon ( 379) and Telefonica Blue ( 553) – the ‘Distance to Leader’ digits are growing at an alarming rate. The boat speed differential between the two packs is as much as 12 knots. Over a 24-hour period that has equated to 531 miles covered for Ericsson 3, to 378 for Green Dragon and 342 for the jury-rigged Telefonica Blue.
There was also some reminiscing from Ericsson 4 navigator Jules Salter and his take on the two schools of thought since the recent weather models rendered Southern Ocean tradition obsolete.
“Our friends on Ericsson 3 used a carefully thought-out punt over the top,” he said. “This had been lurking as an option since Fiji but old school conservative thinking (south is good) rather tempered our risk assessment.
“This left us taking a loss but at least we are in touch with our main rivals overall. Good to see the Ericsson 3 move, a lot more Arsenal than Chelsea so to speak.”
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