STOP PRESS from Miami

Dangerous light winds turn finish into three way lottery

Wednesday March 27th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
0400GMT: Just six miles from the finish line, marking the end of leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race the wind has gone light and backed to the north east, leaving the three front runners making just three knots as they are swept north by the Gulf Stream at around 2 knots.

Currently illbruck is in the north and least favourable position, while Assa is in the middle and Tyco, still five miles behind, is approaching from the best angle - the south east. Any of the three boats could still win...

Meanwhile News Corp has closed down SEB and is currently just two miles astern of Gunnar Krantz's Swedish entry.

Nick Corps' meteorologist Nick White commented: “The winds are going to drop off - perhaps as low as 4 or 5 knots. Great Isaac [the final mark of the course] is on the edge of the Gulf Stream which is the final barrier to the Miami finish line. The current is running up the coast at 2-3 knots on its outside edges and speeds up to 4 knots down its centre. We'll see Team News Corp not only playing the wind shifts out there, but also calculating the impossible - what is the optimum angle to cross the current in the smallest amount of time. Adding to this calculation is the fact that they've got a boat either side of them. It’s tricky - very tricky".

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