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Screaming towards Wellington

Ericsson Racing Team
Daily update
13 February 2006

Screaming towards Wellington

After the first night of racing, the six-strong Volvo Ocean Race fleet is now charging towards Wellington at a rate of knots. Ericsson, with kiwi crewmembers Richard Mason and David Rolfe onboard, is currently in fourth place, just three nautical miles behind Pirates of the Caribbean and 13 nautical miles behind leader, movistar.

It will have been a tough night for the Ericsson Racing Team and all of the sailors on the Volvo Open 70s. The forecasted cold front came in and they have been screaming downwind at 21 knots of boat speed in 29 knots of breeze. Ericsson is currently the most southerly boat, with Pirates of the Caribbean to windward. Brasil 1 has chosen a more northerly course and movistar is positioned between the two, heading up the fleet.

The Ericsson boys will have very little rest over the coming days as they take advantage of every breath of wind and strive to hang onto the cold front. If they manage to do so, it will take them most of the way to Wellington. However, as Ericsson Racing Team meteorologist Chris Tibbs explains; if they fall off back of the cold front they could be in trouble:

“Behind the front coming in from the west is some high pressure. If this comes in, there will be an acceleration zone between the front and the high pressure. But if they fall off the back of that then they will be into light winds. So by Wednesday, any boat which is not almost there will suffer. The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer.”

The yachts are due to arrive in Wellington any day from early Thursday morning, 16 February, and they depart for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday 19 February. We will be holding a meet the Ericsson Racing Team event at the Loaded Hog following the arrival (further details to follow). If are interested in attending or if you would like an interview with skipper Neal McDonald (GBR) or our New Zealand crewmembers Richard Mason and David Rolfe, please contact:

ENDS

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