VO70s bound 4,450nm to India
The 4,450nm second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race got underway on Saturday under the gaze of a huge spectator fleet and a clutch of helicopters buzzing in the sky.
After a short postponement to allow the wind to stabilise, the gun echoed out across Table Bay signalling the start of leg two, which, for the first time in the history of the race, will finish in Cochin, India in December.
PUMA (Ken Read/USA) scorched off the start line, leading the fleet from Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA). With her huge red masthead gennaker set and going like a freight train, PUMA blazed the trail, with water pouring over the deck and a small number four jib working as a staysail set underneath the gennaker. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR) was in third position, and Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) was up with the pack, while Delta Lloyd with new skipper, Roberto Bermudez/ESP made a disappointing start.
Code Zeros were hastily unfurled as wind dropped to almost nothing and it was a frustrating time for the crews who were very aware that whoever found the breeze first would make a huge gain. This race has been won and lost in this bay before, and to be first out of Cape Town can make all the difference.
The race became a drifting match, with the fleet desperate to find any breeze at all. PUMA ran into problems trying to unfurl their Code Zero, needing three men on the bow to fix the problem and, in the end, dropping the sail to the deck.
Delta Lloyd, to leeward of the fleet, looked well placed for the new breeze, and might well have picked the right path through the glassy calm. Ericsson 4 led PUMA and Green Dragon, but were not safe at all. PUMA was furthest off shore, but Telefonica Blue was rock-hopping along the shore, hoping to sneak round the fleet, but the forecast is for strong south-westerly breeze offshore, which means creeping along the coast may not pay off.
The first point scoring opportunity on this leg will be when the fleet crosses from west to east – the line of longitude 58 degrees E, anywhere south of the latitude 20 degrees S.
1. Ericsson 4: 14 points
2. PUMA: 13 points
3. Green Dragon: 11 points
4. Telefonica Blue: 10 points
5. Telefonica Black: 7 points
6. Ericsson 3: 5 points*
7. Delta Lloyd: 4 points*
8. Team Russia: 4 points *
*leg one scoring