More points on the board, Matthew Sheahan reports, while Mark Covell reports back for YW as he meets the King aboard the Russian Boat

Ian Walker’s Green Dragon team led the way through the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha on leg 1 to Cape Town, scoring four points as they did so. Hot on their heels was Torben Grael’s Ericsson 4 with Ken Read’s Puma in third. As the fleet ran parallel to the South American coast, just seven miles separated the leading three boats.

Even when considering the last boat around the gate, that of Team Russia, the distance from the front to the back of the fleet was only 86 miles, adding further weight to the argument that this is shaping up to be a closely fought race with more position changes than was expected.

Rounding the scoring gate puts points on the board for the second time and sees both Telefonica boats hang onto the first and second places gained following the in-port racing in Alicante a week before the start.

Rounding positions at Fernando de Noronha:

1 Green Dragon – 12:24 GMT – 4pts
2 Ericsson 4 – 13:59 – 3.5
3 PUMA – 14:16 – 3
4 Telefonica Black – 14:48 – 2.5
5 Telefonica Blue – 19:42 – 2.0
6 Ericsson 3 – 23:43 – 1.5 (less 1 point as per Jury decision)
7 Delta Lloyd – 23:52 – 1.0
8 Team Russia – 04:35 – 0.5

*Provisional overall points standings (including first scoring gate):
1 Telefonica Blue – 6pts
2 Telefonica Black – 6pts
3 PUMA – 6pts
4 Ericsson 4 – 6pts
5 Green Dragon – 6pts
6 Delta Lloyd – 2pts
7 Ericsson 3 – 1pt
8 Team Russia – 1pt

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Blog – A Close Shave – by Mark Covell
On Board RUS -1 Kosatka Team Russia

For some strange reason I kind of imagined that I would cross the equator down wind not hard on the wind, with waves cascading over the deck. I guess King Neptune isn’t fussy whatever point of sail you’re on, because today we had a right Royal Visit. The aquatic king sashayed onto the deck with a crutch in one hand as saber and sporting a very attractive white lace bra and panty combo rounding it all off with some sassy little suspenders, he was only missing the twin-set and pearls.

Yes, obviously we had disturbed the Great King on one of his cross-dressing afternoons, Thursday night is ladies night at the Conk and Lobster Bar & Grill. He must have been having much fun there because he was not happy to be pulled away so soon, and disturbed. He was not only cross-dressed he was angry too. He demanded the uninitiated amongst the crew be striped off down to their boxers and be tied up to the spray rail for their punishment. If this is what they mean by “life at the extreme,” I obviously walked into the wrong bar. From there on in, things just turned fishy. Our crimes were read out. They were mostly of trespassing nature and we had to pay. I was first in the line for fish heads and old food gunk daubed liberally over me. Open your mouth and take it like a man was the call as the King of the deep went down, the row of sniveling accused.

The unlucky line up was me, the dashing Camron Wills, the sheepish kiwi Ben Costello, sail stitching Jeremy Elliott and the Ukrainian medalist, Rodion Luka. Thinking it was all over; we were then presented with a sailcloth medal to commemorate the occasion. What we didn’t know was the sticky mess that we were covered in was about to get a whole lot stickier. From out of his purse Neptune pulled a can of industrial strength 3M spray glue. I got it bad, all over my manly chest and under my arms and even under my chin. I felt like a postage stamp looking for a letter. He sprayed his wicked way with us all. Then at last it was over, “The King had left the building.”

We were untied and dispatched to the bow where the braking waves washed the fish heads and pasta away. As I type this Blog, sticking to the desk more than usual, I’m trying to work out how I’m going to get rid of the glue still matting my armpits and chest. I think the only way out of this mess is to totally shave my upper body. Yes you heard me right, girlfriend. This race is taking me places I never thought I would visit. The only question still bothering me now, who did the manly king remind me of, with his flowing locks and dashing looks?