Volvo Ocean Race are running a series of updates on progress on the final 550nm Leg 9 of the race to finish in Galway, Ireland.
Wind conditions currently are predicted to drop to 9-11kts for the remainder of the leg from Fastnet to Galway.
The boats rounded Fastnet Rock at 1030 approx UTC, and according to the tracking have rounded the final waypoint of Eeragh Ltho and are heading for the finish line.
7nm from the finish, it seems that Camper is leading by 1nm from Groupama with Puma third and Telefonica fourth.
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At 0002UTC on July 3, 2012, entering the final approach to Galway, Camper skipper Chris Nicholson says they have about seven kts of wind currently - they have been down to six kts. There is a big fleet of welcoming boats on the water. Nicholson will be hoping the breeze holds to the finish and they don't repeat, the experience in Lisbon, where Camper lost a place right on the line when the wind faded. He estimates they are an hour from the finish line.
If these places hold to the finish, Groupama will take the Volvo Ocean Race for 2011/12, Camper will be second overall, and only able to be displaced by scoring zero points in the Final InPort Race. Puma will be third overall, and Telefonica fourth. Places will not be altered by the results of the InPort race on Saturday, unless there is a DSQ or similar.
Rounding the final mark Camper was shown as being in the lead, however the latest tracking information shows Groupama as having moved from fourth to first. Sail-World has spoken with race organizers who say they are having problems with the satellite tracking and the positions shown may or may not be accurate. The key when the boats are so close is to have a position that is simultaneous in time for all boats or is timestamped and can be corrected so that all boats are measured at the same point.
There are issues with the Livestream cutting off, if you see graphics only, then refresh this story. Our apologies for the intermittent coverage.
Latest report 2220UTC is that the Livestream has started. On the basis of what we have seen previously this will consist of a series of graphics interspersed with live interviews and cuts to other coverage cuts. So if you just see a series of graphics, don't leave, just minimise your browser, but leave the sound on and when something is shown you will hear the commentary, and can switch to the video.
From the Volvo homepage: We are tracking the leading four boats (Camper, Groupama, Telefonica and Puma) via a cellular network. When the other two boats get within range we will pick them up as well. As you will have seen, we lost data from the boats for a while. Many apologies and thanks for bearing with us.
00:55:01 UTC: PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG close out the final Leg 9 podium position.
00:49:11 UTC: Groupama cross the finish line in second just minutes after CAMPER to seal overall victory in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Jubilant scenes on Groupama 4 as the crew celebrate in the heat of the moment.
00:42:13 UTC: Victory for CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, who cross the finish line in Galway Bay to take their first leg win of the Volvo Ocean Race.
0000 UTC, 03/07/12: Chris Nicholson, skipper of Leg 9 leaders CAMPER, brings us this update from the racecourse:
'We’ve had a massive day and fought our way through to the lead and now we have this horrible finish through Galway Bay. We’re just trying as hard as we possibly can and I just hope the breeze plays ball just a little bit and we can cross the line first.
'Groupama are 0.9 of a mile directly behind us. You sail ahead into a hole and literally two or three will pass you. This isn’t over til it’s over, this one. We’ve been so close [to winning] on several occasions and once or twice, through no fault of our own, it’s been snatched away from us. I don’t normally get nervous but I think I am right now.'
2345 UTC: It's going down to the wire out in Galway Bay as the four frontrunners pour every last bit of energy into eeking out the extra knots that could give them the upper hand in the last 10 miles of the leg. With winds dropping down to less than 10 knots, so have the boat speeds and at the latest position update it was leg leader CAMPER with the edge, averaging nine knots.
2230 UTC: Racing is neck and neck, with overall race leaders Groupama making a final push to add a Leg 9 victory to their haul, and are currently tied in the lead with CAMPER. PUMA aren't far behind and are well in contention just 0.4 nm in the wake of the leading pair, while Telefonica are less than one mile behind in fourth place. Abu Dhabi and Sanya continue to match-race for fifth and sixth place. (S-W this report disagrees with Volvo Ocean Race's Livestream which shows Camper in the lead by a mile from Groupama with 15nm to sail to the finish).
1940 UTC: Groupama are the first to gybe to the east, followed by PUMA and CAMPER. Telefonica take a risk and hold their course -- and it pays. Not long after, PUMA gybe back onto starboard -- a costly manouvre in these conditions. Stay tuned to see if Telefonica can reap the benefits and throw a curve-ball in the closing hours of Leg 9.
1910 UTC: Over to Pepe Ribes, watch captain on Telefonica, to explain their current situation:
'We’re going downwind with 11-13 knots. Things are changing very fast here – sometimes we’re doing well, sometimes not that well. Groupama are to windward half mile and CAMPER to leewasd half a mile. These are the last miles of Leg 9 and it looks like all will be decided in the last few hours.'
1900 UTC: Team Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson is planning a last-gasp attack on Ian Walker's Abu Dhabi:
'We have two cards to possibly play against her between now and the finish. Firstly we believe that they may have gone with lots of equipment onboard so they could stack the boat for the heavy reach out here... We went the opposite, as we felt our only chance was to be fast at the end. Fingers crossed we are in a different mode.
'Then our other card is hopefully we have a more inshore downwind orientated sail (our A2) gennaker onboard for the first time. We aren't sure they have one they could have declared so that also will be interesting. If they are light like us and they have an A2 like us then we are in trouble, as they should be quicker. Our best chance is that we are different and then we have room for a chance.'
1800 UTC: PUMA skipper Ken Read said he and his crew could be 'fighting for their lives' to fend off a challenge from CAMPER who have a spinnaker better suited to the light downwind conditions and sit in sight and less than two miles behind. Also putting PUMA under pressure are Telefónica and overall race leaders Groupama.
1640 UTC: Over to Hamish Hooper from CAMPER, who sends this dispatch from the water:
'Things have gone well since Fastnet Rock; we have managed to roll past both Groupama and then Telefonica, something of an absolute rarity in this race, but something everyone took great satisfaction from. No one on board is silly enough to think they will be left in our wake for good.
'We still have 85 miles to go until the finish- still plenty of runway for them to catch us, but maybe more importantly for us, plenty of room for us to catch Puma who we now have firmly in our sights.
'We have been sailing along some of the most stunning coastline I have seen anywhere in the world. It is rugged and cold and harsh- the perfect backdrop for the final fight of this leg.
'We are now downwind running to the mark with our A4 spinnaker, which we are desperately hoping will be our golden ticket to be first across the finish line. It's all hands on deck for an exciting final 8 hours of off shore sailing in this race.'
1600 UTC: Increasing breeze up the western coast of Ireland has brought the ETAs forward, with the leading boat now expected to cross the finish line at 0100 UTC -- that's 2am in Ireland. It's still PUMA out in front, but not by much. Don't forget to tune into www.volvooceanrace.com for the next round of live video calls with the boats, starting with PUMAat 1800 UTC..
1500 UTC: PUMA and CAMPER are practically neck and neck with 0.1 nautical miles splitting the two. Can Ken Read's men hold on for another leg win, or will Chris Nicholson's crew taste offshore victory for the first time?
1315 UTC: PUMA hold a lead of less than a mile over Telefonica with just around 125 nautical miles to go in the ninth and final offshore leg. Groupama are safely tucked in in third place, just ahead of CAMPER and the French team just need to stay out of trouble now to seal the race win.
by Sail-World and Volvo Ocean Race
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7:03 PM Mon 2 Jul 2012GMT
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