The Race - 1130 - 24/1/01

Dalts is 730 miles in front and still worried!

Wednesday January 24th 2001, Author: Ed Gorman, Location: United Kingdom
Whilst the competitors in The Race are witnessing a slowing in the pace, don't be mislead. Everybody is remaining alert on board to squeeze the most out of the boats in the slackening conditions. Loïck Peyron on Innovation Explorer is having to shift away to the North in the hopes of finding a little more wind while Grant Dalton and Franck Proffit on Club Med are continuing their median route towards the French Kerguelen Islands.

Club Med was this morning just 1175 miles from the Antarctic continent and, even if her average over the last 24 hours has significantly dropped (455 miles covered), the big blue catamaran has still got enough wind enabling her to keep up 18 knots. But reading Grant's e-mail, it is clear that this is not good enough for him and that each lowering of pace leads to questions, even when leading by 730 miles.

"Are we in the right place? No, that's for sure. We've climbed up too high and are suffering from the effects of the anticyclone." Then, after consultation with the navigation think-tank, he added: "We're where we ought to be in function with two factors to cope with: the bomb awaiting us if we remain too far to the South (a deep low of 960 hPa) and the high pressure to the North."

The same sentiments can be felt on board Innovation Explorer, even if yesterday, Loïck Peyron seemed satisfied with their navigation, "because each mile sailed is a mile in the right direction." But, for all that, "nothing is perfect" and they are having to remain attentive at the helm in waves that are not yet long enough. This morning Innovation Explorer was once again obliged to tack North, to get back to around 46°S in the search for a Northwester, enabling them to find a wind angle more worthy of a giant catamaran. Indeed, Loick was only making 14 knots this morning.

Warta-Polpharma is starting to extricate herself from the bubble of high pressure and is heading south. During the day she will be passing close to the tiny island of Gough (UK) (42°20¹S/10°00¹W). Discovered a first time by the Portuguese in the 16th century, it was annexed in 1731 by the English Captain Gough, master of the Richmond. The island is inhabited only by a handful of South African meteorologists and is listed as a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is home to two species of birds unique in the world (Gough Island rails) and three species of albatrosses also nest here in masses amongst penguins and petrels.

Tony Bullimore's Team Legato is bringing up the rear and seems to have found some northerly wind this morning allowing them to make 12 knots.

Cam Lewis's Team Adventure, meanwhile, is still in Cape Town finishing repairs to the delaminated crossbeam fairing. Lewis is going to have to cope with a reduced crew.

Météo Consult¹s weather forecast:
Club Med: wind from the West force 5 falling NW force 4 to 5 then freshening in the evening 5 to 6.
Innovation Explorer: wind from the West force 5 falling South force 3 during the afternoon (low with associated thalweg) becoming SW force 5 in the evening
Warta-Polpharma: wind from the West force 3 becoming NW force 4 to 5, rising 5 to 6 in the late afternoon.
Team Legato: wind from the NW force 3 to 4, becoming variable with low pressure force 3 mainly from the East.

Map images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to The Race site for a free download of the software.

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