The Race - 1030 - 8/1/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Cam puts the hammer down

Monday January 8th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
But Lewis had the hammer firmly down, and with the top three all still in decent trade wind breeze (below),Team Adventure put in a 24 hour run of 586 miles - just 39 miles short of Club Med's world record set earlier in the year - and by the Sunday evening position report she had closed the gap to Club Med down to 81 miles.
Such is the speed of these boats that the Doldrums crossing is almost on them and Jean-Yves Bernot, Team Adventure's navigator, admitted on Sunday that he was already working on the weather situation for the South Atlantic High.

And as we learned with the Vendee fleet a couple of months ago, the first trick to traversing the Doldrums is picking the thinnest point to cross, usually but not always to the west. The second is getting the right position for what happens out the other side. Between them and the left turn into the Southern Ocean at Cape Town is the South Atlantic High - the brother of the Azores High - and they need to exit the Doldrums with a fast course that will take them around this high pressure area and its light air.

Club Med navigator Mike Quilter's got a habit of aiming for 28W as his Doldrums crossing point - the so-called 'Sweet Spot', based on research of the historical data and his racing experience. Generally somewhere between 25 and 30 W is about right. The Doldrums usually start around 5N and in the above image, the crosshairs mark a point at 5N and 28W - you can see how close they are, and the leaders should start to slow today.

Dalton has Lewis bottled up right now, following in his wake, but he'll need to match the speed of Team Adventure to keep it that way. There were signs that Dalton was doing so this morning, the first position report had the distance between these two steady overnight at around eighty miles.

Meanwhile Loick Peyron has given up a lot of distance down the track to get west - and is now over 200 miles behind Club Med - his navigator Jean-Yves Bernot clearly wants to be that side, but if he's already positioning for the South Atlantic High, then we won't know if this has paid off until they hit the Southern Ocean. But then, that's only a week away ...

Behind them, the PlayStation crew have had the frustration of seeing the gap grow during the weekend - as the leaders hit the trade winds, Fossett and his crew had to struggle with the high pressure and light air moving in over them. The accordion will contract again today as the leaders get into the Doldrums.

The Poles are playing tortoise to the hares - the top four have pulled anything up to almost three hundred miles on Roman Paszke's crew over the weekend. Team Legato spent their weekend in the traditional restful manner, they left Gibraltar at 1530 GMT on Sunday afternoon, after being released from their 48 hours in the sin bin for the assisted stop-over. Tony Bullimore and his crew are now over 1500 miles behind.

Standings (at 0830 GMT, 8/1/01)

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