The Race - 1230 - 1/2/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Club Med closes on Cook Straits

Thursday February 1st 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Attention on The Race is focussed on whether or not Loick Peyron will stop Innovation Explorer (green) in Wellington to replace his battered sail wardrobe and broken daggerboard. We should know within a couple of days, as the boat is fast closing on Cook Straits. But Peyron is keeping the suspense up, although everything seems to be in place for the pit-stop, he has yet to announce a decision.

Fleet at 0700, 1/2/01

The problem is Club Med (blue), charging ahead once again as they fly up the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand, only 330 miles from the passage through Cook Straits. Dalton is still finding plenty of power in the breeze from that big high pressure centred to his west. Club Med have extended their lead once again - another hundred miles or so in the last 24 hours - as Innovation Explorer was battered by the storm now to their south-west.

Weather at 1800, 2/1/01There's not a huge change anticipated in the next 24 hours (right) and although Dalton will have to dive hard south out of the Strait, it looks like he's not going to get held up for any significant length of time.

If Peyron decides to stop he will enable his boat to once again reach its full potential through the rest of the Southern Ocean. But the penalty will be high, Club Med could be three or even four days ahead by the time Innovation Explorer goes back to sea after 48 hours in the stop-over sin bin. Enough of a lead for Dalton to throttle back and nurse his machine the rest of the way if he wants to.

Or Peyron can keep charging as best he can, and hope that he pushes Dalton into a bigger breakdown and forces the big blue cat to pit-stop. Not an easy call.

continued on page two

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