Close run thing

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

Saturday February 16th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
The Heat Is On - Knut Frostad reports from on board djuice

If you guys following us are excited about this sprint of a finish, think about how it is onboard. It's almost unbelievable that four boats can be ten miles apart after racing for more than 5.500 miles from New Zealand.
Spirit on board djuice is higher than ever. On deck it's just the sound of winches spinning and 'trim-stop-trim-main in-hold main-stop-more vang-ease vang......'. Every person is concentrating. We know how close this is going to be and every single boat length we can gain right now can make the difference in the end.

So what is going to happen with the wind? At the moment Amer Sports One is the only one to gybe and go east. They passed just behind us a few hours ago, on an unfavourable gybe. To me the only reason left for them is to avoid the counter current we are currently sailing in. Unless they believe in more wind in the east. No models or predictions show that for another 20 hours.

The Brazilian current is a tricky one. I remember so well four years ago when we insisted a little on a gybe to avoid the current and ended up with even stronger current against us. The fact is that the hot water is running south in this area. To avoid it, you have to be pretty far east, so we believe it's more a matter of more or less against you.

At the moment we have about one knot against us, which we can live with. The water temperature is still 22 degrees, which means we haven't entered into the real hot flow, which should raise the water temperature to at least 24 degrees Celsius. If we assume that we all are in unfavourable current, what is left to make a difference is the wind and pure boat speed. That's what I believe this will come down to.

I can't say what we have planned in detail, but at least most predictions show less wind up front, which should pack the fleet even closer together, if that is possible at all...

Right now a couple of guys are working hard to dry out some sails on deck. We still carry Southern Ocean water in our sail bags, as all sails have been well soaked over the last weeks, and never really had a chance to dry out until now. As we have to make the boat as light as possible, getting rid of water is important. Spike [Peter Doriean] is drying out our Helly Hansen survival suits. They are definitely not going to be used for a very long time, but they were certainly good to have down south.

Back-up sails are ready on deck in case something should happen. The little sewing machine is ready down below in case we have a rip. All in all - we are ready for a very close battle all the way to Rio.

djuice dragons are going to fight very hard the last miles we have left, that is the only thing I can promise you - be 100% sure about that.

All the best
Knut [Frostad]

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