At 04:00 GMT Wednesday, StealthPlay came into action for the first time. In the approach to the Canary Islands, Ian Walker and Green Dragon played their joker and decided it was time to go into hiding. They disappeared for 12 hours, reappearing on the 16:00 GMT position report this afternoon.
At the time that StealthPlay was activated, Green Dragon was only 12 nautical miles from Ericsson 3 (Anders Lewander/SWE), the leaders at the time, and set up to the west of the Canary Islands, with Telefonica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) just on her starboard hip.
Over the past 12 hours, the Canary Islands have caused the fleet to scatter.
When Green Dragon reappeared at 16:00 GMT they were in fourth position, 55 miles behind the leader, PUMA. Then Ericsson 4 in second and Ericsson 3 in third.
Ericsson 3 went straight through the middle of of Gran Canaria and the rest of the fleet went to leeward (east). Delta Lloyd/IRL (Ger O’Rourke/IRL) and PUMA/USA (Ken Read) and Ericsson 4/SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) gybed close in to the shore and are now just 17nm off Cabo Falso Bogador the African coast.
Choices have been made and the east/west split of the fleet is a clear 211nm, from Telefónica Black out to the west and PUMA and Ericsson 4 away to the east.
Bouwe Bekking’s Telefónica Blue also favoured the eastern side, and is following almost the same course as Delta Lloyd, but has slipped back through the fleet after damaging her large A2 running spinnaker this morning.
'It seems in the 18-20 knot wind range, we are not so fast, and we can’t sail very deep,' explained Bouwe. 'The spinnaker just gave up and tore right through the middle and it was all hands on deck to prevent it from falling in the water,' he said.
Two of his crew, Daryl Wislang and Jordi Calafat are putting it back together, but it has been a bitter blow for this Spanish team, as they continue to race with a spinnaker 150 square metres smaller. 'We have to keep sailing the right angle for this sail otherwise we are cheating ourselves. It is very tempting to sail the same angle as before, but then we will sail way slower,' he explained.
At the earlier 13:00 GMT position report, the fleet had a good north-northeasterly breeze of around 19 knots. PUMA had the fastest 24-hour run of 367nm and Ericsson 4 had the highest average boat speed of 19 knots over the past hour. Leg One Wednesday, Day 5: 16:00 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
- boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to leader
1 PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) DTF 5396
2 Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) DTL 7nm
3 Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders Lewander/SWE) DTL 26nm
4 Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) after StealthPlay DTL 55nm
5 Delta Lloyd IRL (Ger O'Rourke/IRL) DTL 94nm
6 Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DTL 94nm
7 Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) DTL 110nm
8 Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) DTL 110nm