ABN AMRO ONE has increased her lead to 25 miles over teammates ABN AMRO TWO 17/1/06

ABN AMRO ONE has increased her lead to 25 miles over teammates ABN AMRO TWO. Having rounded Eclipse Island ABN AMRO ONE seems to be sailing slightly higher than TWO and maintaining a faster speed through the water.

According to volvooceanrace.org all three boats, including movistar at the front are heading offshore – they are now 158 miles from land – to the south-east on port tack, looking for a more favourable slant of wind that will allow them to tack and get a better angle toward Melbourne. The better winds are at least 300 miles away, so there is plenty more hard work to go.

Mark Christensen, in latest report on ABN AMRO website describes what’s currently happening at the front of the fleet. Christensen is an ABN AMRO ONE crewmember who is currently sitting out of this leg due to an arm injury: “The forecast shows they will get lifted and will get close lifted for a while, reasonable lift on port tack, then a front will pass over them from behind. We will see the boats in front stretch out again. The breeze will quickly swing around west and south-west, the timing for that is Thursday.

“They should be on port for another two days, at which stage they will be in the vicinity of 300 miles away from the finish when this passes. After that, they will have a dying breeze, it could get quite light as they approach Melbourne. They may get into this five knot stuff. It could turn into a bit of a battle into the finish.

“There are going to be two options at that stage. Typically you wouldn’t in an offshore race, you wouldn’t go to the coast. The deal with the land and sea breezes, they are within 20 miles of the coast. The transitions between the two breezes which oppose each other at the beginning and end of the day, well, you lose too much ground. If there is a 10-15 knot sea breeze on shore and five knots off shore, that may be a good option. There is a good chance we’ll see them when they’re 200 miles from Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay, and spend the last day sailing 5-20 miles offshore. That depends on what the gradient breeze out offshore is.”

Back at Albany on Eclipse Island Team Pirates of the Caribbean are still in port assessing the damage to the port-side failed hydraulic keel ram.