"Because of the Sri Lanka waypoints, the pirate exclusion zone, keeping them off the south shore of the island, the fleet can’t get to the beach."
A desperately tough day for the fleet, as they have battled a strong current that has swept them one metre back for every two they have sailed forwards. And it’s only been in the last few hours that Neptune has finally relented, with Bouwe Bekking and Telefonica Blue slipping the leash first and fastest, breaking through into the lead this morning, with her sistership and PUMA right on their heels.
The fleet had lined up north to south, with Telefonica Blue getting her nose out into the front row all on her own. She is positioned slightly to the south of the middle of the pack lined up behind her, with Ericsson 4 on the northern flank, then PUMA, Telefonica Black directly in her sistership’s wake, with Green Dragon on the southern outpost – there are 25 miles from north to south across this group.
Behind them, Ericsson 3 are 15 miles behind PUMA and sailing in her wake, with Delta Lloyd due west of and another 40 miles behind Ericsson 3. Team Russia meanwhile is also 40 miles behind and sailing in the track of Ericsson 4. The breeze was eight to 11 knots of True Wind Speed blowing from a north-northeasterly True Wind Direction (TWD), and finally allowing them to head east towards the scoring gate.
So how did Bekking recover the lead that he relinquished to Torben Grael and Ericsson 4 at the first Sri Lanka waypoint a couple of days ago?