The Race - 0930 - 5/1/01And as we can see (right) the northerly flow from the back or western edge of the low pressure will turn itself into the northerly flow from the front or eastern edge of the high pressure as the fleet move south. From there it will turn into the north-easterly trade winds as they roll around the bottom edge of the high pressure - these are visible blowing strongly off the coast of Africa on the bottom of the image (right).
So, plenty of breeze to come and some truly spectacular daily mileages - it's all about who gets into that solid breeze first and the next 24 hours should see a more solid advantage established than the cat and mouse, win-a-few-lose-a-few miles of the last couple of days. The question is, who will have that advantage?
Aboard Club Med, there have been reports of the crew struggling with a list of minor ailments, Dalton said, "It's really difficult to run things on the boat with various people being ill, and that starts with me. On board doctor Alexis de Cenival has not been idle, he's already administered several stitches on Frank Proffit's cut eyebrow, has put both Grant Dalton and Nicolas Pichelin on anti-biotics for their flu, and has now had to strap the foot of Spanish crewman Guillermo Altadill who twisted his ankle yesterday.
Nevertheless, Dalton felt they were working together better, "We are changing sails a lot less than we were. We aren't in a match race with Team Adventure, we can't afford with the distance left to sail to get into games like that. On top of that, I really don't think Playstation will be too hindered by her 48-hour stop in Gibraltar. Having now put back to sea they will be the first to get the favourable north-westerly winds that the fleet is expecting soon."
But Loick Peyron looked to have changed his mind yesterday afternoon, "The forecast is not very good for them," he said, "They are going to suffer for 24 hours and will be 500 miles behind, in the knowledge that we will be speeding up tomorrow."
When PlayStation left Gibraltar at 1715 GMT yesterday, Warta Polpharma had a three hour head start, having departed at 1415 GMT. But Fossett and his crew had already ground down that advantage and were only five miles behind on the water this morning. But Polpharma have a few hours in the bank -, the International Jury has given its verdict and not only will Warta-Polpharma not be penalised for the satellite system enforced halt, but she will also be credited with time spent on the repair.
Meanwhile Tony Bullimore and his crew were expected to arrive in Gibraltar overnight - although that hadn't been confirmed at the time of writing - to start their 48 hours in the sin bin and fix that headboard. Frenchmen Olivier Cusin and Fred Dahirel worked together with American Kevin Pahl in 35 knot headwinds to lash up the broken headboard and get the mainsail back up - that effort had got them back up to 10 to 14 knots. While the shore crew had also been putting in long hours to get new parts made to replace the broken gear and team manager Gwyn Jones flew down to Gibraltar with the parts yesterday.
Map images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to The Race site for a free download of the software.
Standings (at 0030 GMT 5/1/00)
1 Innovation Explorer
2 Club Med +1
3 Team Adventure +43
4 Warta Polpharma +310
5 PlayStation +315
6 Team Legato +440