After 48 hours thrashing in to the wind, Volvo Ocean Race crews are preparing for slow progress in the predicted light winds

After nearly 48 hours on the wind, some of it in a breeze approaching 30 knots, wet and tired crews were hoping for a brisk reach on their route to Cape Town so they could knock off a few hundred miles at a fast pace. However, skippers and navigators are now predicting four or five days of light winds which will make progress slow. It should take just five days from the start to reach the Canary Islands but it’s now looking like it will take at least a week. “We have not sailed very far at all with a day’s run of around 225-230 miles,” commented Grant Dalton (Amer Sport One skipper) “it will be a slow trip to Cape Town. Now we have high pressure in front of us so we are not going anywhere very fast.”

The leading yachts should arrive in Cape Town on 22 October 2001 but that prediction is based on progress so far and with four to five days of light weather ahead the ETA could well be extended further into October.

Today, the leading yachts are tightly bunched after nearly four days at sea. Only seven miles separates the leader illbruck with 6,633 nautical miles to the finish and the fourth yacht on the water, Assa Abloy. Tyco is second two miles behind illbruck and Amer Sports One is third, a mile further back. Further to the west Team News Corp, Team SEB and Amer Sports Too are further down the pack but clawing back some of the miles lost by choosing to go west.

Dalton says he and navigator Roger Nilson are watching the boats to the west very carefully in case the wind shifts in their favour. Although he is pleased with Amer Sports One’s performance so far, it is clear that Dalton is aware that it only takes one mistake to lose everything they’ve worked for. “We were very much an unknown quantity before the start.” said Dalton, “We are still learning how to get the best out of her and we have managed to stay with illbruck and Tyco and we have a small advantage over Assa Abloy.”