The leaders of VOR fleet pass halfway point and movistar snatches third

As the fleet passed the half way point in leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race last night, complex weather continued to challenge the fleet. However, Chris Bedford, race meteorologist, says, that given the expected conditions, the leaders should be nearing the second scoring gate of Eclipse Island off Australia, by Sunday.

As the fleet peels off towards the higher latitudes once more, concerns about ice remain on everyone’s minds. Updated ice information was given to the fleet on Tuesday, just before they passed the final ice gate and started to head further south.

It is likely that the fleet will want to remain in the stronger winds as long as possible incurring some extra distance. The turn north-east towards Eclipse Island will be critical and the navigators will need to identify the optimum time to make the turn. A series of high pressure centres with very light and shifty winds will move towards the Australian Bight and a ridge of high pressure with accompanying light winds will move between the fleet and the scoring gate.

The positions this morning show Team movistar having overtaken Pirates of the Caribbean. Now 24 miles ahead and sailing at a similar speed movistar is furthest north and despite having to repair a ripped spinnaker yesterday the team is fired up ready to extend their lead. Chatting about how they performed the spinnaker repair Bouwe Bekking the skipper said: “We had to take the sail down, normally we can furl this sail tight up, so that it looks like a long snake, this way the wind has not much effect on it when hoisting or dropping, but now it was all hands on deck for what we call a mongrel drop. A tight rolled sail is impossible to repair.

“Probably everybody has tried once as a kid to hold his/her jacket open in a gale when standing on the beach. Now try to do the same with 300 square metres trying to fly away from the boat, big waves washing over the bow of movistar, and the guys hanging on for their dear lives. But some way somehow we managed it, and now 300 square metres fills up our “living space” inside of the boat. Don’t ask me how they do, but they got it fixed in no time. Glued and stitched and the sail like new, the sailmakers were in their element. Thanks Spike (Peter Dorien) and Nitro (Noel Drennan).”