The Race - 0630 - 5/3/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Dalts celebrates and Peyron closes with the line

Monday March 5th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Grant Dalton brought Club Med (light blue) across the finish line on Saturday evening, winning the first running of The Race comfortably from Loick Peyron and Innovation Explorer (green). The 27,407.9 miles were covered at an average speed of 18.3 knots - regardless of whether that's recognised as a circumnavigation record by ISAF and the WSSRC, it's the number that everyone will be watching from now on. And Dalts was typically direct as he talked to madforsailing after the finish on that and other topics.

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.

Leaders at 0300, 5/3/01

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.

Weather at 0644, 6/3/01The 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.

continued on page two

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