Breaking illbruck - 'The Rock'...

Seven teams continue trying to close the gap on leader illbruck...

Monday February 4th 2002, Author: John Greenland, Location: Transoceanic
Volvo Ocean Race Position Report, Day 9, 0359 GMT
1 ILBK 4469 95 16.5 347 0 0
2 TYCO 4507 105 14.7 346 38 13
3 AONE 4508 110 15.3 338 39 17
4 NEWS 4514 110 14.9 334 45 16
5 DJCE 4558 113 15.0 324 89 17
6 AART 4560 112 15.0 329 91 14
7 TSEB 4585 114 13.2 308 114 26
8 ATOO 4784 070 14.2 250 313 17
    It seems no matter how hard the seven chasing boats push John Kostecki's current leader illbruck Challenge in the Volvo Ocean Race they fail to gain any miles. In fact for the past 36 hours the overall race leader has managed to add a couple more miles to their lead on every sked - not bad considering the iceberg minefield the teams are currently attempting to navigate.

    Whether the illbruck boys have a secret weapon of a sail they only put up for the long offshore legs, or whether they just like to push it that little bit harder in the dark, but one thing's for sure - it's going to be a tough job breaking 'The Rock' en route to Rio de Janeiro.

    Grant Dalton's Amer Sports One and Kevin Shoebridge's Team Tyco are first in line to take a swipe at illbruck. These two switched places, with Shoebridge now holding the advantage, after Dalts' Nautor boys team managed to break a kite and rip their mainsail. "Had a bit on today. One broken kite and one slashed main sail," explained tactician Paul Cayard during a quiet period. "The kite is put to bed and we have another one up and going just fine but the main has to be taken down and fixed properly for the long haul. We are just trying to find the time, which will be least costly to sail without a main for three hours."

    Cayard, currently spending a reasonable amount of time number crunching next to navigator Roger Nilson, has also been paying a fair amount of attention to Kostecki's speed machine. " illbruck really sails fast on the 90-120 degrees reaching and it shows that they have done their homework on the sails. I am sure they are sailing the boat very well also and technique makes a lot of difference in overpowered sailing on those angles."

    Paul Cayard is not the only one to notice illbruck's breakneck pace Mark Rudiger, Cayard's right hand man on board EF Language four years ago, has also been following the German syndicate's skeds. "They are just sailing perfect and seem to be gone for a little while." Rudiger explained from his Nav Station.

    It's clear all eight crews are being worked into the ground attempting to gain places and avoid icebergs. Correspondance has become irratic - only half the usual number of emails are coming from the boats and when they do arrive many of them are less half the usual length. One things for sure, they're having a tough battle as they chase east through the Southern Ocean toward Cape Horn, now only 2300 miles away.

    Any hope of breaking illbruck's stranglehold over the fleet, at least for the short term, looks to rely heavily on the developing weather systems. Kostecki is now positioned to the north of the leading seven having sailed freer and Gunnar Krantz' SEB furthest south. At present Tyco and News Corp look best positioned to make a move should new weather favour the more southerly boats as the two are currently positioned halfway between the north/south spread.

    illbruck Challenge dodging icebergs

    Page Two... Mark Rudiger updates us from Assa Abloy
    Page Three... Richard Clarke discusses summer houses
    Page Four... Lisa McDonald - illness and relentless cold

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