Close run thing

Fleet concertinas causing chasing pack to eat into illbruck's lead

Saturday February 16th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Navigators get a breather - Mark Rudiger reports from Assa Abloy
After the most mixed up bag of weather since the beginning, things have finally settled down some. The large high pressure to the southwest of us has given us nice trade wind sailing almost at the mark. The mood onboard has soared, even if a sked shows a small loss here andthere. There is constant chatter and joking on deck once again, and talkof how we’re going to win this thing.

Since we all pretty much picked our slots and are running on the favored gybe, there aren't a lot of options strategically, and I felt it was agood time to catch up on some sleep and chill out a little. But wait, the last two skeds have shown there is plenty on still.

Illbruck second-guessed incorrectly how we would all gybe and has lost huge bearing to Tyco and ASSA ABLOY. Likewise Amer Sports One second-guessed and lost to djuice and us.

Things look good on the left except now we have this Brazilian Current ahead, which is going the wrong way. Trying to plot all the little meanders and velocities of this current is a real brain twister, and could decide the fate of us all. Tough call whether the shift for us on the left will win out over the less current on the outside.

Right now the shift has gone far enough our way to cross Amer Sports One and djuice, but we want to make sure we're in it solid, and we're gaining steadily on Tyco, so need to stay in touch with them. Meanwhile illbruck must have been concerned about us and gybed and even sailed pretty high on angle to make sure we didn't gain any more bearing. At least it is still interesting to watch from shore.

The forecast shows the wind holding from the southeast as we cross the ridge, but getting lighter with more compression from behind. Could be an interesting finish after more then 6000 miles and three weeks! In any case we'll be celebrating one-way or the other in a few days and no matter what the outcome. Everyone should be proud of the accomplishment, winning just always makes it that more sweeter.

Cheers from
Mark 'Rudi' Rudiger

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