Leg three under way

Hatfield makes best start in Around Alone once again

Saturday December 14th 2002, Author: Mary Ambler, Location: Transoceanic
A heavy cloud hung low over Table Mountain as the start gun fired from the SA Navy Mine Sweeper boat to signal the beginning of Leg 3 of Around Alone 2002-03.

First across the line was Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada, once again starting strongly, followed closely by Emma Richards on Pindar. Soon enough Pindar, Solidaires and Hexagon overshadowed and then rolled the smaller Open 40, but it was a sweet moment for Hatfield who has been the first to cross the start line on each occasion to date in this race. Canadian John Dennis on his Open 50 Bayer Ascensia, and Italian Simone Bianchetti on Tiscali were early for the start, and both yachts had to recross the line.

The boats sailed close-hauled and mostly single-reefed along the coast in a brisk 20 – 22 knot northwesterly wind, ploughing through the chop caused by the NSRI boats and spectator craft. Frenchman Thierry Dubois looked to have the best speed and he passed Emma Richards to open up a small lead on the fleet. However, he was soon being reeled in by Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group-Armor Lux. Stamm had taken a conservative start but an hour into the race he had passed Dubois and was once again in the lead.

As the fleet sailed into the haze it was Bobst Group-Armor Lux leading Solidaires with Hexagon and Ocean Planet close behind. Emma Richards had started with two reefs in her mainsail, and seemed underpowered, but once she threw the reefs out the boat picked up speed and Richards was slowly gaining on the leaders. Only Simone Bianchetti on Tiscali was struggling to keep up (he is still sailing with Bernard Stamm spare mast awaiting a replacement which will be fitted in New Zealand). After restarting, Bianchetti got caught close inshore and had to tack to clear a headland.

The latest news is that Hexagon has now pushed into the lead of Class 1.

In Class 2 Hatfield had a comfortable lead over second place Alan Paris on BTC Velocity with Kojiro Shiraishi on Spirit of yukoh and John Dennis bringing up the rear.

Current Class 2 leader Brad van Liew was late starting due to some mainsail problems; it seems that the sailmaker sewed the leechline on his mainsail by mistake, and Van Liew was not able to make adjustments to the back edge of the sail. Within minutes after the start the sailmakers were on board frantically handsewing the sails, and at 1400 local time van Liew hoisted the mainsail and Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America was back in the race.

Only Everest Horizontal remained at the dock, unable to complete vital rigging adjustments in time. American skipper Tim Kent estimates that he will be away before nightfall this evening.

Track the Around Alone fleet with Raytech Navigator 4.1 – go to www.aroundalone.com positions page and follow the link at the top of the chart.


Class 1
Boat Time Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1. Hexagon 34 21.960 S 18 11.000 E 3.93 kt 203 °T 7224.06 nm
2. Bobst Group – Armor Lux 34 25.020 S 18 08.001 E 4.42 kt 205 °T 7226.04 nm
3. Solidaires 34 24.420 S 18 07.140 E 4.38 kt 206 °T 7226.79 nm
4. Pindar 34 21.180 S 18 05.880 E 4.09 kt 210 °T 7228.35 nm
5. Tiscali 34 17.940 S 18 03.060 E 3.92 kt 217 °T 7231.52 nm
6. Ocean Planet 34 18.960 S 18 02.520 E 4.06 kt 217 °T 7231.62 nm

Class 2
Boat Time Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1. Spirit of Canada 34 15.880 S 18 03.560 E 3.68 kt 219 °T 7231.93 nm
2. Spirit of yukoh 34 14.760 S 18 03.520 E 3.59 kt 220 °T 7232.45 nm
3. Bayer Ascensia 34 13.240 S 18 03.080 E 3.47 kt 223 °T 7233.50 nm
4. BTC Velocity 34 13.680 S 18 02.600 E 3.54 kt 223 °T 7233.63 nm
5. Tommy Hilfiger 34 07.380 S 18 12.000 E 2.31 kt 219 °T 7240.70 nm
6. Everest Horizontal 33 53.000 S 18 25.000 E 0.10 kt 270 °T 7241.12 nm

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