From first to last and back to first. ABN AMRO One's navigator Stan Honey explains the reasons behind the decision to gybe south 22/2/06

At 0044 last night navigator Stan Honey sent this report explaining why the current Team ABN AMRO One went from first to last place in a matter of hours during day three of the third leg of the VOR. They are now in first place again, neck and neck with Pirates of the Caribbean.

“These races are full of gut-wrenching decisions, and we had yet another yesterday. We had a nice lead, but we were in a precarious position with respect to the weather. We needed to get south, away from the ridge below the wandering low that has been occupying our attention for the last several days.

“That low used to be Tropical Cyclone (Vaianu), it then became a ‘cutoff’ low and wandered around for a while. In a few days it looks like it might join up with another low on a Southern Ocean front and contribute towards the ‘mother of all’ lows in the westerlies heading towards the Horn.

“Back to yesterday… So we were leading (on the skeds) but needed to get south to position ourselves for the next phase of the weather, specifically staying south of the ridge under the cutoff low mentioned above. To do that required gybing to get south, which had the affect of sailing ourselves into last place. We’ve had to watch this movie on some of the previous legs as well, having to make gut-wrenching decisions that took us into last place in order to position ourselves where we wanted to be. The only good news about yesterday was that we had the resolve to make the hard decision. We will have to wait and see whether that gut-wrenching decision works out and we are able to work our way back into the fleet.

My gut is going to be well-wrenched by the end of this race.”

The latest position report shows Team ABN AMRO One back in the lead once again with Pirates of the Caribbean snapping at their heels. Brasil1 is just two miles astern, with the second AMRO boat trailing the fleet 16 miles behind.