The eight boats finally clear the Doldrums and gather speed in the trade winds

The eight boats racing in the Volvo Ocean Race have finally cleared the Doldrums, and are gathering speed in the south-easterly trade winds.

After the painful drifting of the Doldrums, when the fleet all but came to a standstill, everyone is again interested in the position reports and the Green Dragon (pictured), as they continue to hang onto their lead.

“There is full traffic by the nav station. Now everyone wants to have a look at the computers to see how the others are doing'”, writes Gustav Morin MCM onboard Ericsson 3.

Out to the west, Green Dragon is sailing fast and straight for the islands, reaping the rewards of the westerly position the team opted for four days ago. Bouwe Bekking/NED in charge of Telefónica Blue observed: “We all know by now that the west paid off hugely, but probably the best route has been by Telefónica Black. They will make some good gains on the leaders in the next 36 hours.” Telefónica Black is now only 64 nm from Green Dragon.

Although pleased about the success of their teammates, the Telefónica Blue team is disappointed about their own position. “Of course we are not happy. We would have liked to be more west, but missed the boat, literally, when we parked up,” Bekking said.

From onboard seventh-placed Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT), Telefónica Blue’s situation looks rather enviable. “During the Doldrums we lost an awful amount of miles to our opponents. The worst example is Telefónica Blue who was 140 miles behind us and now is ahead. That should not be possible. Even Green Dragon was very far behind and now they are in the lead,” explained Gustav Morin.

“It looks like they [Green Dragon] picked the winning side this time,” says Ger O’Rourke/IRL, skipper of Delta Lloyd who opted for the easterly side of the course and is 223 nm out of touch. Earlier today his team had a near miss with a 200-metre ship, which decided that power must not give way to sail. “The watch-leader miscalculated our crossing, called for permission to cross, but the master of the 200m ship held his ground and speeded up, eventually passing us an embarrassing half a mile ahead. It was the source of much amusement,” O’Rourke added.

At the 13:00 GMT position report yesterday, average boat speed was up to around 12 knots with Telefónica Blue and Ericsson 3 both averaging 12.8 knots. The positions in the fleet have remained stable for 24 hours, and Green Dragon has clocked the highest 24-hour run of 254 nm. The team has 253 nm to run until she reaches Fernando de Noronha, which will take them about 24 hours if they maintain the current speeds.

Leg One Day 12: 1300 GMT Positions

1 Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) DTF 3612
2 PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) 30
3 Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) 33
4 Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) 64
5 Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) 138
6 Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders Lewander/SWE) 183
7 Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) 205
8 Delta Lloyd IRL (Ger O’Rourke/IRL) 223