Volvo Ocean Race sailors take time off to battle it out on the 40s for day two of the grand prix 23/3/06

Movistar watch captain Chris Nicholson swapped 70 feet for 40, taking the helm of a Volvo Extreme 40 during the second day of the Grand Prix Series in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Sailing with team members Diogo Cyolla (POR), Gregg Homann (AUS), and Mauricio Santa Cruz (BRA) on the Volvo Ocean Race boat Nicholson, an experienced 49er sailor, managed to score a second, fifth and a fourth in mixed conditions to finish day two in third place overall.

Nicholson commented: “I had a great day today. It was good fun and fast, although our results were not that good. This kind of sailing is very enjoyable. You don’t need to coordinate nine other crew members and a shore team; you can just jump in and go.”

Drawing a comparison between the Volvo Open 70s and the Volvo Extreme 40s, Nicholson said: “Both of these classes are at forefront of the sport and technology. The Volvo Open 70 is at one end of the spectrum and is extreme – one of the fastest boats that you will sail offshore. The Volvo Extreme 40 is at the other end and is the fastest you will sail in flat, inshore waters.”

Team Motorola-CHR helmed by Leigh McMillan (GBR) set the day’s pace, winning the first race in 12 knots of breeze from Nicholson and his team on Volvo Ocean Race. The following two races saw a battle of the Brits with McMillan and his crew of Howden (GBR), Humphries (GBR) and Oliphant (GBR) going head to head with Team Basilica.

Motorola-CHR had the advantage in the second race finishing just behind Tommy Hilfiger helmed by Randy Smyth (USA). Basilica, helmed by Alister Richardson (GBR), crossed the line in third place after managing to return from the back of the fleet after suffering from a broken mainsheet.

The final race of the day saw Team Basilica back on fighting form, eventually crossing the finish line over a minute in front of Motorola-CHR to maintain their overall lead in the series.

Basilica crewmember James Grant said: “We feel that we sailed well today. The course was pretty tricky as the top mark was right under Sugarloaf Mountain which made the wind quite fluky, so we were pleased with our consistency today.”

After seven races Team Basilica lead the fleet by two points from Motorola-CHR with Volvo Ocean Race third.

Results: Day Two (after seven races)

1. Basilica (1,1,1,2,3,3,1) 60 pts
Alister Richardson (GBR), James Grant (GBR), Pete Greenhalgh (GBR), Jonathan Taylor (GBR)

2. Motorola – CHR (2,3,2,1,1,2,2) 58 pts
Leigh McMillan (GBR), Conrad Humphries (GBR), Will Howden (GBR), Hamish Oliphant (GBR)

3. Volvo Ocean Race (4,2,3,5,2,5,4) 40 pts
Diogo Cyolla (POR), Gregg Homann (AUS), Mauricio Santa Cruz (BRA), Chris Nicholson (AUS)

4. Tommy Hilfiger (3,5,4,4,5,1,5) 38 pts
Randy Smyth (USA), Jonathan Farrar (USA), Stan Schreyer (USA), Juliano Viana (BRA)

5. Holmatro (5,4,5,3,4,4,3) 35 pts
Mitch Booth (AUS), Taylor Booth (AUS), Daan Koene (NED), Herbert Dercksen (NED)