The cream rises to the top

The quality boats in the Volvo fleet have made a significant breakaway

Monday April 15th 2002, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United States
Positions at 2200 GMT
PS  Yacht  Latitude  Longitude  DTF  DTL  DTL-C  SMG  CMG
1 illbruck  31 19.88N  078 13.44W 536 0 0 9.3 049
2 Assa Abloy  31 18.16N  078 14.92W 539 3 +2 8.8 048
3 News Corp 31 17.96N  078 14.64W 539 3 +1 9.1 049
4 Amer One  31 17.88N  078 14.80W 539 3 +2 9.0 049
5 Tyco  31 19.44N  079 00.44W 560 24 +8 7.0 015
6 SEB  31 20.92N  079 02.76W 560 24 +8 7.3 007
7 djuice  31 06.60N  078 42.60W 561 25 +7 7.2 053
8 Amer Too  30 34.44N  077 43.64W 565 29 +10 5.4 033

Already the Volvo split has split into A and B divisions, with most of the usual suspects in their respective groups. The two form boats, illbruck and Assa Abloy, have been trading places at the front, followed closely by News Corp and Amer Sports One just three miles astern.

Division B, meanwhile, is over 20 miles behind. As a high performing boat in recent legs, Tyco will be disappointed to be lying in fifth, even if they are leading the backmarkers. Not far behind are SEB, djuice and Amer Sports Too. But with the lateral separation of the backmarkers, who have fanned out line abreast behind the tightly clustered front four, it is still anybody's race.

The girls have taken a huge punt out into the Atlantic, all by themselves. Seeing as they have struggled to hold pace with the fleet when going the same way, it seems a sensible move. They will cause an upset by the end of this race, and with the vagaries of the Chesapeake Bay approaching in another day's time, leg 6 could be a good place for them to start.

The first 24 hours appear to have consisted of sail change after sail change, with Roger Nilson on Amer Sports One commenting on how most of the fleet appear to have used every spinnaker available to them within the first day out of Miami. Doubtless this is why illbruck is out front again. It comes back to those two solid years of homework, logging when to change gear from one sail plan to the next.

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