Chasing boats continue to trim the deficit as Green Dragon and Ericsson 3 make gains

It would appear that over the last 24 hours, Ian Walker’s boat Green Dragon (see photo) has been ticking off the miles. The Data Centre shows that since Saturday, the Dragon has gained 140 miles – Distance To Leader (DTL) – on Ericsson 4.

Ericsson 3 is also worthy of mention. Despite conceding seven hours to their rivals at the start of this leg, Magnus Olsson’s crew are now within four miles of second-placed PUMA, who in turn are 24 miles adrift of race leaders Ericsson 4.

Since entering the Doldrums, the chasing boats continue to trim the deficit. Boat speeds hover around 10 knots, although for the past few hours, Telefonica Blue has averaged 12. Green Dragon also gets the award for the best 24-hour run – 315 nautical miles. E4’s run stood at 247. The concertina effect will play a part for at least the next few days before the entrance to the Southern Ocean proper.

In an email entitled “Rolling The Dice” E3’s Media Crew Member Gustav Morin talked of the 50-mile gain on the shoe boat in the past 24 hours and of the roulette wheel that is the Doldrums:

“We have reached the Doldrums and the game of rolling dice can begin,” he said. “Even though the convergence zone is not as big as it has been in the last crossings (Leg 1 and 2), it is still impossible to predict what’s going to happen with the wind over the next few days.”

“We have to keep 100 per cent watch for the clouds and try to find the best way around them. Otherwise you can easily get stuck, like PUMA did earlier.”

On Telefonica Blue, Bouwe Bekking reported that a message of volcanic proportions landed in the inbox of their navigation warning system. It read: “North Pacific, Nanpo shoto. Discoloured water with submarine volcanic activities observed. In vicinity of 24-17.1N 141-29.0E”.

“Yes, indeed a volcanic ‘eruption’ very close where we crossed this position a couple of days ago,” Bekking said. “Good it didn’t happen when we were there, as not sure how we would have reacted… and rather don’t want to know the consequences.”

“So what other ‘dangers’ are out here? Radioactivity is one of them, a big thanks to the countries who have been playing here with atomic bombs about 30-40 years ago. Some of the atolls are still highly radioactive, and the Pacific pilot recommends a wide berth around these atolls.”

“The Pacific pilot has provided us some nice reading material, and it is a shame that we are racing through this area. Wouldn’t it have been nice to make several stops here and to explore some of the atolls? The pictures say it all. It is paradise.”

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