BT Global Challenge - Leg 1 - 21st September


madforsailing.com's diary writers, Andy Magrath and Conrad Humphreys, are still leading aboard LG FLATRON, but the pressure is on
madforsailing.com is following the BT Global Challenge through the eyes of the skipper and a crewman aboard LG FLATRON - the leading boat for most of this leg. On Thursday, they both found time to write, Conrad's was first, then Andy. Conrad Humphreys, Skipper LG FLATRON, Thursday, 21st September, 2000. It's been over six years since I crossed the Grand Banks off Newfoundland. Then it was competing in the 1993/94 Whitbread Round the World Race (now the Volvo Ocean Race) on the under-funded Ukrainian W60. I seem to remember surfing at 25 knots in fog so thick you couldn't see your hand, with the Gulf Stream pushing us along and out into the Atlantic towards Southampton. That was the last leg, and the race for us was well and truly over. No similarities here then! We are hard on the wind in ten knots of breeze, it's bright and sunny, this is Leg 1 of the BT Global Challenge - and it certainly is not over. With 1350 nm to the finish, and now 200 miles splitting the fleet from front to back, we are still leading. But keeping the level of intensity high on board is one of my most challenging roles as skipper. With five boats all within 50 miles of us and chasing like a hungry pack of wolves, the atmosphere on board is electric, keeping it focussed is the challenge. I feel for the skippers who are at the back of the fleet. The level of expectation of the skipper, from some of their crew, must be a difficult problem to manage. Those who do manage it and keep their team's focussed when the tables are turned, will be among the front runners at the end. It's time for a pep talk, we've lost miles to Quadstone

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