The Race - 0630 - 5/3/01
The number that will go down in the record books is Club Med's world record for the greatest distance sailed in 24 hours - 655.2 miles at an average speed of 27.3 knots. It's a remarkable performance all-round - congratulations to the whole crew, and in particular the British element, Neal McDonald and Ed Danby, mentioned in dispatches by the Race Office and Dalton.
The Mediterranean didn't make it easy for the big blue cat, Dalton reported that they recorded their second highest wind speed of the event - 52 knots - on the run in to the finish. But despite the crew's understandable anxiety about a disaster unfolding in the final miles, the end was as smooth as the rest of this impeccable circumnavigation.
Behind them, Innovation Explorer are closing the finish line, just 378 miles to go at 0300 this morning. The forecast is not particularly good for Loick Peyron and his team, and they might argue that this has been the case all the way round.
The chart for Tuesday morning (right) shows the fading of the little low pressure over Brittany that's currently providing the juice for Innovation Explorer.
In its place is a pretty wobbly high pressure zone, that doesn't show much inclination to set up a steady breeze - and it may take more than 24 hours for Peyron and co to finish these final miles.
They won't be helped by the fact that they have now blown their big gennaker out for the final time - Elena Caputo declaring that it was unrepairable on board. That will slow them down some more, and this has been the other tale of Peyron's circumnavigation. They've done a good job with their limited budget - but The Race has belonged to Dalton since Club Med backed him with the money to do it properly, and the Kiwi skipper isn't the type to waste that kind of opportunity.
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Map images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to The Race site for a free download of the software.