The Race - 0930 - 5/1/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Innovation Explorer charges to the front

Friday January 5th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
The big move west that Innovation Explorer (green) made overnight between the 3rd and the 4th January, and that we talked about yesterday came good for Loick Peyron and his crew overnight as they tore up the rankings to take the lead from Grant Dalton aboard Club Med (light blue) and Cam Lewis with Team Adventure (orange) - who had been duelling for the advantage all day.

Fleet at 0430, 5/1/01

But to do it, they've traded all their westerly positioning for miles south down the track - so is this just a temporary lead? It's certainly a small one (and it looks like the latest morning report has Club Med back in front), just a mile from Club Med, the next boat to the west, and then 43 miles from Team Adventure - and it's this last boat with Cam Lewis and his crew that have made the big move this morning, they're now the ones all the way offshore.

As we can see from the bigger weather map below, Team Adventure should be best positioned to get the stronger breeze from that new low pressure system situated all the way to their north over Ireland, and then the starboard tack lifting shift as the wind veers round to the north-west behind the cold front that's on its way. This should finally give them the breeze that they need to get those boat speed figures into the 20 - 30 knot range as they reach south.

Weather at 0430, 5/1/01

It wouldn't surprise me to see Team Adventure heading south again soon, and turn some of that pressure advantage that they should have into miles down the track. But all of these guys will be struggling a little bit to predict how their boats will move in relation to the weather system. The very short preparation times won't have let them build complete performance tables so they know how fast they will go in every wind speed and at every wind angle. If Innovation Explorer do turn out to have tacked south too early, this is quite possibly the reason - they didn't realise how fast they would move south and out-run the incoming new wind.

Looking ahead, that strip of high pressure running down the left hand side of the above image is set to reassert itself as a full-blown Azores High, as the big low pressure moves east from Ireland over the rest of the British Isles.

Click for new window with link to Virtual SpectatorMap images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to The Race site for a free download of the software.

continued on page 2

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