And then there were seven

Warta-Polpharma goes in the water as Code One departs for Marseilles - but the weather isn't helping the progress of Team Philips

Friday December 1st 2000, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
The seventh of The Race entries was launched on Wednesday, 29th November as Roman Paszke's Warta-Polpharma hit the water in Pen Mane, Brittany, after her extensive refit. After fitting and aligning the rudders, the 85 foot maxi-cat went in the water in the early evening. A brief naming ceremony followed, before the crew set out for Lorient, Brittany and then the Multiplast yard in Vannes where the wing-mast will be stepped.

In its former life as Jet Services, this boat has perhaps the greatest history of offshore passage making, and still holds the most significant record on the books, the west-to-east trans-Atlantic time that even the new generation of maxi-cats has yet to surpass. It was also the boat, then called Commodore Explorer, in which Bruno Peyron, Cam Lewis and company first beat the 80 day Jules Verne mark.

On the same day, The Race website has also reported the departure of Code One on their qualifying trip to Marseilles. It was a tiny opportunity to make a break for the south, as an incredible succession of depressions continues to batter Northern Europe.

Skipper Loïck Peyron was quoted by The Race website as saying, "We have decided to follow the coastline because the south-south-westerly winds are creating heavy swell which is far from ideal for these boats that are designed for the open sea ... By Thursday evening, we will be hoping to reach Cape Finisterre, Spain. This will be the crucial phase of the voyage. We are expecting high winds and difficult seas." There are ten crew and two photographers aboard, and barring problems, they expect the trip to take between five and six days.

Pete Goss is still waiting for another break in the weather before he takes Team Philips out for further sea trials. They are hoping to get out over the weekend of the 2/3rd December, and do a couple more day sails and perhaps an overnight before departing on the trip to the Med. With the mother of all low pressure systems due in the Western Approaches early next week, any departure for the start is unlikely to happen in the next seven days.

Meanwhile, a recent visit to Hamble Point marina revealed a rig, looking remarkably like the one bound for Bristol and Tony Bullimore's Team Legato, sitting in the car park. Carbospars themselves wouldn't comment, but apparently it's been there since at least yesterday. Bullimore has his launch ceremony on the 1st December and is supposed to have stepped the mast the day before.

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