The Race - 1030 - 20/2/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Club Med keep cruising

Tuesday February 20th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Club Med's (light blue) progress north through the trade wind zone continues smoothly, with Grant Dalton and his crew rolling up the miles towards the Doldrums. There are few tactical choices right now, "Our approach to the Doldrums at this time of year gives us very few options. The west is the only low risk choice. Innovation Explorer has been driven further east than they would have liked by the weather down south.

"I think it would be unlikely that they would want to cross the Doldrums any further east than us. All this means is that they have sailed extra distance for nothing. But they might want to try the Doldrums further east, it would be really risky, but they just might try something different. If they did risk it and it did come good and they slipped through the Doldrums quickly and gained on us - well there is only so much they could gain and there is only so much runway left before the finish line ..." Less than 4,000 miles this morning, with Innovation Explorer more than a thousand behind.

Leaders at 0900, 20/2/01

Loick Peyron and Innovation Explorer (green) held her port tack going north-east overnight - 450 miles of leverage between the boats and building. Peyron has been trying to slip round the edge of the high just as Club Med did before them - waiting for the wind shift to the north-west, then to the north and finally to the east as they clear the top of the high. In this morning's chart they are almost there, but have been badly slowed near the centre and Peyron has slipped back almost a hundred miles in the last 24 hours.

Weather at 1050, 21/2/01Looking ahead to Wednesday morning, the high should recede a little south and help Innovation Explorer break clear. The little bubble of high pressure to their south is going to expand north, but they should be able to out-run it.

They will then be in an easterly position, where they can hope for flatter water and a smoother ride north than Dalton got at this stage. But - as Dalton says - tackling the Doldrums from that longitude would be risky. They might go for it, they might choose to just put the bow down and give up all that easterly position for a lower course and hopefully more speed in the trades.

With little else to worry about at the moment, Dalton has been considering boat speed, "Perhaps if I had this race to do again we would have developed another reaching sail for the trades that would be a bit more efficient right now (they have the solent headsail up), something like the sail that Team Adventure used on the way south through here a month ago. But taking another sail means having to carry that extra weight when it isn't used, and importantly putting it down below inside one of the hulls in the south."

Meanwhile, despite a daily intake of 5500 calories, the crew of Club Med still don't have enough food. "You can never have enough food on board. We are always hungry. At the beginning of The Race we were throwing some of the food we prepared away everyday as people weren't that hungry. But as The Race has progressed we are just more and more hungry. Every grain of rice that falls on the floor is meticulously picked up and eaten, every scrap is devoured."

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.

Latest Comments

Add a comment - Members log in


Latest news!

Back to top
    Back to top