Having led the fleet briefly the Spanish boat is still snapping at ABN AMRO ONE's heels

After two days racing in the Tasman Sea towards Wellington and crossing the
Bass Strait, the Spanish “movistar” and the Dutch “ABN AMRO One” boats
continue their battle for the lead. Just yesterday the “movistar” boat
claimed the privileged first position, today the Dutch boat is the leader
of the pack.

The last 24 hours have been a fearsome battle between the boats. At
daybreak the Spanish was reigning the lead, later this morning the “ABN
AMRO One” sailing downwind, surpassing the Spanish boat which was by then
at the stern of the Dutch boat, both heading further into the sea.

The leading boats each time getting further away from the rest of the
fleet. 37 n.m ahead of “Pirates of the Caribbean”, with the “ABN AMRO Two”
in fourth place after catching up and passing both the “Ericsson” and
“Brasil” boats -the distance from the “movistar” increasing from 11 to 24
n.m. Lingering in last position the Swedish team “Ericsson” lagging 53 n.m
behind the leader.

The Spanish boat has sailed a distance of 453n.m in 24 hours, still leaving
832 miles till reaching the finish. The scheduled date of arrival is set
for next Wednesday at 17:00 hours.

There is only a mere two hour distance between the Dutch and Spanish boats
and that could mean that if the winds shift and the downwinds change, as
they did during the first 24 hours of the leg; the “movistar” could again
lead the fleet.

The Spanish boat’s Skipper, Bouwe Bekking, wanted to thank all those
involved helping out at the Melbourne stopover: “I’ve done a couple of laps
around the world, and to be honest, this was the best stopover I ever had
in Australia. Thanks to all the people who made it happen”.

Now the short stopover in New Zealand is on his mind: “Saying goodbye to
the families will probably be the hardest part of the leg, since it will be
over a month till we see eachother again, boys and girls; we are going to
miss you”.

Regarding the last 24 hours on board, the “movistar” team added: “gliding
along nicely in 25 -30 knot breezes, with a spinnaker up. Last night we
were very close to four boats, and it was magnificent to see them blasting
along under the full moon. Then we made a headsail change to our reacher,
under difficult conditions, but after that, we were on a roll and started
slowly dropping the others behind us”.

The Tasman Sea consitions reflect themselves in his words: “All well
onboard, and no real issues, aside from it being difficult to hold on
downstairs or on deck as movistar catapults over the waves”.