illbruck away again

Kostecki makes yet another break from Assa and Tyco. Is this it?

Tuesday March 19th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Positions at 1000GMT today
PS Yacht Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTL-C SMG CMG
1 Illbruck 07 45.20N 048 45.60W 2123 0 0 13.7 304
2 Assa Abloy 07 46.28N 048 30.68W 2134 11 -1 14 309
3 Tyco 07 48.84N 048 24.96W 2137 14 -1 13.9 307
4 SEB 06 35.72N 047 28.48W 2227 104 7 12.9 314
5 Amer One 06 39.08N 046 41.48W 2261 138 6 12.9 308
6 Amer Too 06 07.44N 046 27.72W 2291 168 11 11.8 310
7 News Corp 06 19.20N 046 15.68W 2293 170 2 13.2 307
8 djuice 05 21.96N 045 54.08W 2346 223 10 11.9 308

NOAA forecast for today's weather

Is this it? Can the others pack up and go home? Over the last 24 hours illbruck has one again pulled out a lead over her rivals on Assa Abloy and Tyco at the front of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet. This morning her distance from second placed Assa Abloy has moved into double figures.

At present the front runners are well into the north easterly trades blowing at around 20 knots and are reaching north east towards the turning mark of the course at Barbuda. It is straightline sailing, a drag race reaching contest in which he or she with the longest legs wins. It would appear that John Kostecki and his crew have the legs. Kevin Shoebridge observed over the weekend that illbruck seem to have the edge in fresh reaching conditions, while they and Assa can hold their own when it is lighter.

On the weather charts the Trades seem well established but in the Tropics conditions are always volatile and more large rain clouds of the type the boats have been dodging since soon after leaving Rio, could well catch the unwary causing more rearrangement within the fleet. In two days time a high will have established itself to the north east of the fleet and the boats will have to cross a high pressure ridge, giving navigators some more tactical options.

Behind the leading trio the boats are converging once again. SEB's luck has finally kicked in and proved that their move to the west to cross the Doldrums was a winner, but by breaking out of the Doldrums first the front three have doubled their lead. Djuice is now down the pan in eighth place as a frustrated Knut Frostad explains in his email back from the boat on page 2.

Over the past 24 hours King Neptune has been initiating his new humble servants in the traditional ceremonies that involves pasting new Equator crossers with the worst filth and gunk that can be discovered on board. Some particularly consciencous followers of this ritual have been known to concoct the most vile broths and left them fermenting and festering for days in preparation for the sordid initiation ceremony.

Amer Sports One's Freddie Loof gives the impression that the worst part was the knowing the initiation was going to happen. "The crew on Amer Sports One made sure I received my treat for the first voyage crossing the equator. They where all on to me the whole time and I thought it would all happen at watch change at noon. But I was lucky; we had quite some wind shift at the time so I could happily go for a sleep in my bunk.

"I was back on duty at four pm and I was sure that King Neptune would appear. And so he did, King Neptune (a Swedish one in the form of the much practiced Roger Nilson) came up through the back hatch with his two crew mates. They all were dragging me to the foredeck, where I should receive my treat. Firstly I had lay down on my back with arms and legs tied up and even a rope around my neck. I was basically in the air as King Neptune started to ask questions. I passed most of the questions and then received my treat, which was not very pleasant.

"They had a bucket with left-overs (old freeze dried food), razors and spray glue. It went quite ugly but it was actually really a big laugh. You have to imagine yourself how it all went on, or perhaps check out the

djuice 's Equator virgins are initiated

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