The battle for second

Assa Abloy is displaced

Sunday May 5th 2002, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: Transoceanic
Position Report at 04.00 5 May 2002
Latitude Longitude DTF CMG SMG TFHR DTL DTL-C Pts
1 illbruck 47 37.24N 030 39.32W 1202 65 17.1 457 0 0 49
2 Tyco 47 13.80N 031 04.04W 1222 69 19.2 466 20 -14 34
3 Assa Abloy 47 27.40N 031 09.00W 1223 65 18.7 462 21 -10 40
4 SEB 45 40.08N 031 13.40W 1244 83 18.5 447 42 -13 26
5 News Corp 46 56.68N 032 03.96W 1265 55 18.5 466 63 -3 35
6 Amer One 46 48.80N 032 10.20W 1270 62 18.3 466 68 -7 35
7 djuice 46 26.68N 032 09.12W 1273 63 18.9 460 71 -11 23
8 Amer Too 44 38.96N 063 34.24W RTD

Breaking what before the start of this leg was the monohull 24 hour run record, Tyco has pulled passed Assa Abloy and into second place. At the head of the fleet. illbruck has lost distance, but still maintains a healthy 20 mile lead as the fleet wind down the distance to La Rochelle.

With the ice box now past, the tactical options are much greater and there seems to be a split in opinion as to the fastest way to France. As usual, it comes down to a fundamental choice between distance and wind speed. "In this case the choice in simple terms is how far north to sail to get around the high pressure that is sitting in the middle of the Atlantic between the finish and us," says Tyco navigator, Steve Hayles.

"Do you take a more direct route and hope that sailing the shortest distance will be the key to success or you sail further to get north into stronger winds hoping that the extra speed will outweigh the extra distance? Sometimes you have to choose one of two very distinct options like which side of island to go or which tack to choose but in this situation it's somewhat harder because there are a whole range of options between the two extremes."

Having made a choice, normal tactical thinking suggest the best thing to do is stick to it and see what happens. Grant Dalton aboard Amer Sports One and Knut Frostad aboard djuice seem to have taken a contrary view and the two boats have almost swapped their choice after a few hours. Amer Sport One originally looked like she favoured the more direct approach and sailed much lower for a while suggesting that she might be looking to get north into more breeze. djuice has done much the opposite and after initially looking like she was coming north with Tyco and the leading group she has now started aiming at a more direct route.

Hayles goes on to say, "there are no fools out here and everyone will have looked at their options for some time. All we can do is stay committed to our choice and push the boat hard in our chosen direction."

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Amer Sports Too has reached Halifax, Nova Scotia. Towed by the Canadian ice breaker the all-women team reached port just as the forecast storm was reaching its peak with gusts of up to 58 knots.

"The sight of the big ice breaker coming out of the fog at 8am on Friday was the best thing we had seen for days. They were fantastic, looked after us very well and shepherding us right to the berth in Halifax," said Amer Sport Too skipper Lisa McDonald

"It was very comforting to know the Coast Guard was there when the edge of the depression got us and the winds started building hour by hour, just as the forecasts had predicted. By 5pm we were in almost 60 knots of wind and worse was to come.

The arrival at Halifax was subdued, a mix of relief and regret. Relief at being safe in Halifax and having got the yacht and crew safely out of the clutches of a terrible storm. Regret that Amer Sports Too will be crossing the Atlantic as cargo on a ship.

Page two.... Roger Nilson's analysis

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