The Race - 1330 - 2/1/00
Lewis reported in an email, "Our cat is loping across the Mediterranean and chewing up the miles in grand style as I begin to write this report about 26 hours after our start from Barcelona yesterday. It's a gloriously sunny day, the water is blue and virtually flat. With the wind quartering across our bows at 16 knots -- we're flying a hull and doing 20 knots. The south to south-westerly breeze is directly off the shores of Algiers, off to port and the boys are all in shirt sleeves and soaking up the warmth and sunshine after cool weather in Barcelona the last few days."
It won't be so balmy for long, the weather forecast still has that cold front in the picture with strong west to north-westerly breeze behind it. It may already be through and those positioned to the north should have the lift first for the starboard tack down the Mediterranean. At the morning reports today, Lewis and Peyron had swopped sides with Dalton and Fossett - Innovation Explorer was the most northerly boat, then Team Adventure with PlayStation in her wake, and Club Med to the south.
Ahead of them are the Straits of Gibraltar, and I think we can expect it to be blowing westerly, making it a beat out of this gateway to open water and the North Atlantic. Lewis talked about the weather report for Monday night, "It sounds like hard work, with winds going west, directly on the nose and funnelling in through the Straits of Gibraltar as we try to tack clear. It looks as if we'll be trading tacks with our competition before we can get out into the Atlantic and make the sweeping left turn down towards the Equator as we head for the South Atlantic."
The top windsurfing venue Tarifa is just north of Gibraltar, and its reputation for its strong winds is well earned. There was always a good chance that the first real test of these boats would be beating through the Straits into a gale - and that looks like the way it'll be.
Standings (at 08300, 2/1)
1 Team Adventure
2 Club Med +22.9 nm
3 Innovation Racing +45.8 nm
4 PlayStation Racing +45.9 nm
5 Warta Racing +288.8 nm
6 Legato Racing +358.0 nm