The Race - 1330 - 30/1/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Club Med takes the scenic route to Cook Strait

Tuesday January 30th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Grant Dalton and Club Med (light blue) continue to comfortably lead The Race, although the weather is forcing them to take the long road to Cook Strait. Dalton's problem is the high pressure system forming and moving into the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia. Club Med is being forced to stay south, to skirt around the bottom edge of the zone of light air.
Leaders at 0600, 30/1/01

In this morning's image (above) Dalton is still on starboard gybe heading south, determined to reduce the danger of getting caught in the high.

Weather at 0000, 01/02/01The forecast for Thursday (right) shows just how dominant that high pressure is set to be in the Tasman by the end of the week. Club Med will need to hit the coast of the South Island of New Zealand to avoid getting trapped in light air.

And even then there will be no guarantees of decent breeze as they struggle with the summer thermal effects. But at least the scenery will be amazing.

The weather has been generally kinder to Loick Peyron's crew aboard Innovation Explorer (green). They have gained back the miles they lost yesterday (just under 740 nm behind at 1030 GMT) as they take the direct route while Club Med goes the long way round.

Elena Caputo reported from the boat on how they lost those miles, "The big gennaker was rolled up and stacked away at the end of the Novak-Loday-Cressant-Caputo watch at 0100 GMT.

"Right after that, it happened, we sailed right into the center of the low with Innovation Explorer struggling along at five to six knots under Solent and the off-watch having a great sleep. Four hours later I was shaken up in my bunk after the calmest sleep since the South Atlantic.

"Even below deck it was obvious we had finally hooked on to that very much-awaited low pressure which supposedly will push us almost to New Zealand. Roger Nilson had been announcing it for a couple of days but we had to cross through it in order to be pushed on. We are riding its northern edge now and the wind strength has settled on a constant 35 knots.

continued on page two

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.

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