After movistar's success in the in port racing, they've taken a blow by coming 5th in leg 6 of VOR 10/5/06

Movistar and her crew are enjoying a rest in North Marina Cove in New York’s emblematic Battery Park, following the close of the sixth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. The Spanish vessel only managed a fifth place following a neck and neck battle for second right up until close to the finish line.

A sudden drop in wind just ten miles from the finish deprived Movistar of the necessary wind to catch up to Pirates of the Caribbean, whilst the crew looked on powerless as Ericsson and Brasil 1 passed them. After 380 miles sailed, just five minutes separated the three boats from one another.

Bowman Pepe Ribes commented: “We were going well all the way, sticking with Pirates, but then as we came into the bay the wind just dropped completely and I think they did a sail change, because they just got away from us.”

“The ones behind us were close to land just as the wind shifted forty degrees which definitely gave them an advantage. First Ericsson passed us on the bow, then Brasil slipped past in a shallow area that we had ruled out as we thought it wasn’t a viable route.”

After seeing ABN AMRO One escape in perfect conditions for the Dutch boat, Movistar focussed on their closest rival in the competition general rankings.

Pepe Ribes said: “We opted for the strategy of chasing down Pirates, but the boats behind caught up with us. Instead of marking those who were chasing us we went into battle with the Pirates, which is understandable as that second place was between them and us.”

The Spanish team have lodged a protest against the Swede’s entry into the River Hudson Bay, as crewman Fernando Echavarri points out: “We’ve lodged a protest against Ericsson because they made us alter our course when we were rolling over the top of them. It’s a clear breech?As we were passing them on the windward side they began to come up against the entry canal, which was their only option to stop us from passing, but it was an illegal manoeuvre. That was where Brasil 1 passed us.”

Skipper Bouwe Bekking made no secret of his frustration:
“I’m disappointed with the result, naturally. Fifth place in the leg, coupled with a move down in position spells bad news for us. We were so close to Pirates throughout, but last night we just got ourselves stuck in a hole and we just couldn’t react. Brasil 1 took a risk by going in through a shallow patch and it paid off for them, so I congratulate them on that.”

Fernando Echavarri tried to look on the bright side: “Of course we’re disappointed with the result, but we all know that this makes the RTW race all that more exciting. We are just half a point away from Pirates, Brasil did well as did Ericsson, who really needed it. This just means that the next leg will be very interesting indeed.”

Movistar’s shore crew will move in to repair a problem with the winch mechanism, which will be absolutely essential in the race from the Big Apple to Portsmouth, UK.

As Bekking points out: “It wouldn’t be wise to cross the Atlantic with a fault like this, even though we’ll get a two hour penalty before leaving the dock for the next leg. We’ve chosen safety over time.”

Tomorrow, Thursday 11 May, at 13:00 local time (17:00 GMT) the sixth leg will begin. The fleet will head out towards Portsmouth across the Atlantic. Movistar’s start will be delayed until 15:00 local time (19:00 GMT) due to the penalty.

With today’s results Movistar loses a position to move into third place in the general rankings, whilst the Pirates of the Caribbean take second. However, the Spanish boat is just half a point behind the Pirates, and they have a five point margin on fourth place ABN AMRO Two.

Provisional Rankings Leg 6 (Annapolis-NewYork)

1. ABN AMRO One (Holland), 1d 15h 7m, 36s
2. Pirates of the Caribbean (USA) 1d, 17h, 47m, 11s
3. Brasil 1 (Brazil), 1d, 17h, 56m, 52s
4. Ericsson (Sweden), 1d, 17h, 59m, 49s
5. MOVISTAR (Spain), 1d, 18h, 01m, 26s
6. Brunel (Australia), 1d, 19h, 41m, 17s
7. ABN AMRO TWO (Holland), 1d, 20h, 36m, 15s

Provisional Rankings

1. ABN AMRO One (Holland): 70.5 pts
2. Pirates of the Caribbean (USA) 47.5 pts
3. MOVISTAR (Spain): 47 pts
4. ABN AMRO Two (Holland): 42 pts
5. Brasil 1 (Brazil), 42 pts
6. Ericsson (Sweden): 34.5 pts
7. Brunel (Australia): 2.5 pts