Hanging in there

News Corp and the supposedly slow Amer Sport One remain neck and neck into the Chesapeake

Wednesday April 17th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Over the course of last night the boats rounded Cape Hatteras in relatively benign conditions and at 1000 this morning (GMT) News Corp was the first boat in below the bridge marking the entrance to the Chespeake Bay.

All the crew correspondence has indicated that although the sailing conditions in the warm Gulf Stream have been most pleasant, it has made for awkward sailing. "It gives you a 2-3 knot boost. It can also bring very fickle and difficult conditions," commented illbruck's Ian Moore, who added that more cloud activity that had such a profound influence on the result on leg five into Miami, had occurred this time. " Tyco and SEB were about four miles behind us and then disappeared on the other side of a big cell. Suddenly they were 10-15 miles behind."

Although they have entered the bay now the race is by no means over as the boats must race the 120 miles up the Bay to Baltimore. The Chesapeake is a most pictureque stretch of water and great for cruising. But for racing VO60s it is littered with navigational obstacles - most notably sand banks and shallow patched as well as lobster pots - and the boats must also contend with a more fickle breeze which should initially see the boats astern catch up.

On their approach to the Chesapeake the boats were relishing a brisker south westerly breeze that has helped bring forward their ETA into Baltimore. The numbers show News Corp, arriving at around midnight (GMT) - with just 12 minutes separating the front three. But with conditions getting lighter in the Chespeake it will certainly be later and spectators can enjoy let another series of night time arrivals.

Light night Assa Abloy dropped out of the leading pack for reasons which navigator and co-skipper Mark Rudiger explains on page two of this article. Meanwhile at the back of the pack there is a replay of leg two where djuice have been overtaken by Amer Sports Too and are now desperate to play catch up. Can the girls hang on?

Amer Sports One chasing News Corp - hard

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