The Race - 1030 - 16/1/01

Mark Chisnell reports as light appears at the end of the South Atlantic High tunnel

Tuesday January 16th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Another day, almost the same story - the three leaders struggling to free themselves from the grip of the South Atlantic High. And just as with yesterday, the high isn't budging and they've got to sweat for every mile south. But Club Med (light blue) continues to eke out her lead, she was doing 15 knots this morning and Grant Dalton and his crew must be desperately close to breaking clear and stamping on the gas. They had a 95 mile advantage over Cam Lewis and the Team Adventure (orange) at 0700 GMT, and were three knots faster.

Dalton reckoned yesterday afternoon, "We've started turning left a bit. He (Cam Lewis) has tucked in behind us. We've shut the door on him a bit for now which is nice. There are still 19070 miles to sail to the finish, so we couldn't say he's totally under control, but we do have him where we want him."

Loick Peyron and the third of the Ollier sisterships, Innovation Explorer (green), is losing to both the others, tracking their course to maintain her leverage to the west, she's been hoping for a break that gets them into the Southern Ocean breeze first. It looks increasingly unlikely that they will get it, back to 198 miles behind Club Med this morning.

Fleet at 0230, 16/1/01

But if that left turn indicated that they thought they were out of the light stuff yesterday, they were wrong. The weather image will give you some idea of how tough it's been out there. The bubbles of high pressure inside the main high will all be trying to drag the wind around them and create their own circulation. The net result will be that the wind will be everywhere.

Dalton described their experience, "Yesterday and last night were weird. We sailed along all day in light airs and flat water and then suddenly we came across a really rough patch of water, an intense head sea. It lasted all night and we had to slow the boat right down or we would have broken it into little pieces. We sailed with a triple reefed mainsail and a staysail in just 20 knots of breeze. It's the first time we have had to consciously slow this boat down like that. Things are better now. We have full main and the Solent set and the sea is more organised."
Cam Lewis reported something similar aboard Team Adventure, "Speed 14 knots, seas horrible, bumpy, choppy -- yuk! Typing is almost impossible. Course south, wind speed 18, sailing upwind under a staysail and a reef." Cam added, "It is a game of luck and wind strength, hopefully we will lose no more ground and can work on our lucky charms to help us pass through the next big parking lot."
continued on page two

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