Just over the halfway mark to Rotterdam, the VOR fleet are still experiencing light airs 7/6/06

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet have had a frustrating night. ABN AMRO ONE (Mike Sanderson) is now in front of the pack but only managing six knots as they approach the Butt of Lewis lighthouse. With less than halfway to go, it will be a slow crawl to the finish of leg eight as light winds are predicted.

Brasil 1 (Torben Grael) and Ericsson (Neal McDonald) are neck and neck, two miles behind the Dutch boat, with Pirates of the Caribbean (Paul Cayard), ABN AMRO TWO (Sebastien Josse) and Brunel (Matt Humphries) all in sight of each other approximately 14 miles behind.

Skipper Mike Sanderson of ABN AMRO ONE comments on their improved performance: “All she needs is a little breeze…. In the last 24 hrs we have gone from last place to first, not sure how long we will stay here, as the breeze is due to crump out again in the next few hours, but we have had some fun getting here.

“We have had to race each and every boat, boat for boat to get here, first was ABN AMRO TWO, ( Or the Artist’s formally known as “the Kids”), then Brunel and then towards the end of yesterday, we had some great racing with the Pirates, often crossing gybes, dipping each other as we tried to pick nice shifts to wriggle our way north. Then this morning with Brasil 1 and this afternoon Ericsson.”

The fleet will turn at the Butt of Lewis lighthouse and sail 40 miles due east to Cape Wrath around the top of Scotland.

Weather expert, Jennifer Lilly says conditions will stay light for all of today, with some upwind sailing until it dies off to drifting in the afternoon. Stronger south westerly winds will fill in on Thursday but they will veer right towards westerly and will be short lived, as they are associated with the pressure gradient around the southern periphery of a low passing well north of the course.

Horacio Carabelli onboard Brasil 1 has been enjoying the fair weather sailing: “I never thought this weather was part of Great Britain’s meteo statistics but it has been nice sailing, although the temperature is much different from Rio or Salvador, especially at night. Amazing for us from the tropics is how the nights start to get short, we can see light from the sun on the horizon throughout the whole night.”