Dubois rounds Cape Reinga

Not a happy man to be second yet again in Around Alone

Thursday January 9th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
As Bernard Stamm was finishing the third leg of Around Alone in first place, so Thierry Dubois on Solidaires was rounding Cape Reinga a few hundred miles behind, and heading into the same boat-breaking conditions as Stamm had just experienced.

Dubois was in a black mood when he heard that his main rival had finished: “Yet again victory has eluded me and I am getting so frustrated to always be just one step behind. So now I will let you know that since the Crozet Islands the reacher, its replacement and the brand new large gennaker have blown up and I have spent 4,000 miles sailing downwind with only the staysail and Solent. Also near the magnetic South Pole, which caused my undoing in the last Vendée Globe, yet again screwed up my electronics despite assurances from the experts that it was all regulated, so my Northern route to the Tasman was not so voluntary. To top it all off, one of my rudders sheered off laterally, no collision, no explanation.”

As the community in Tauranga prepare to give their warmest welcome a heavy-hearted Dubois within the next 24 hours, they are also rising in excitement watching the duel between Italian sailor Simone Bianchetti on Tiscali and New Zealander Graham Dalton on Hexagon, which remains close with 25 miles between them as they skirt the Western coastline of Dalton’s mother country. If Dalton is going to get into his first podium position coming into his home port, the pressure is doubled by the fact that Tiscali has drawn level after nearly 7,000 miles despite being sailed under potential as she is carrying Stamm’s spare mast and temporary rigging still. The final stretch will be the decider, and the skipper who can read the conditions better and push their boat harder will be justly rewarded.

British skipper Emma Richards is valiantly making the best of her last days of Leg 3 on her ‘wounded’ boat Pindar, trying to stay as far South coming up the New Zealand coastline so as to escape the worst of the light airs.Yesterday she wrote: “I am pushing this little '3 reefed' boat as fast as it will go just to stay in it, but it will soon be right on the nose, and slow me down then I will be lucky if I can get to 41S before it dies in this area, where I could be stuck for a while! hmm!”

Today Pindar has hit the headwinds and slowed to 3 knots, hopefully a temporary situation, as to her North Bruce Schwab on Ocean Planet is creeping up over her just 100 miles behind. Schwab is unfortunately sailing his “hobbled horse” in South Easterly winds too but without ballast on the starboard side after the tank blew out. “Imagine sailing along with 25 good sized football players sitting on the rail, and if they all hopped off....you would suddenly heel WAY over! So without the ballast, I can't put up as much sail as usual or we get overpowered and spin out.” However, he has reported some “excessively thrilling weather - big squalls, lightning, and 50-60 knots of wind. There was an intense low pressure imbedded in the front. We knew about the front coming but had no mention of this intense local low (surprise!) with the barometer going down to 997mb. The sea conditions were wild as the new southerly blast smashed into the northerly swell from the big blow that was just in front.”

Ocean Planet has now been caught by Class 2 leader Brad Van Liew on Open 50 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, himself only 30 miles behind Pindar too. Experiencing the same conditions as Schwab, but faring much better through it, Van Liew is under the 1,000 mile barrier, his lead stretching to 773 miles ahead of Tim Kent on Everest Horizontal.

POSITIONS AT 14:00GMT 09th JANUARY 2003

Leg 3 Provisional Rankings
1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux finished at 22:24:43 GMT 8th JAN 03 after 25 days, 12 hours, 24 minutes, 43 seconds

Class 1
Boat Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF

2. Solidaires, 35 02.020 S, 174 12.360 E, 103.93 nm, 13.00 kt, 122 °T, 194.94 nm
3. Hexagon, 38 47.000 S, 167 24.400 E, 68.89 nm, 8.61 kt, 38 °T, 655.80 nm
4. Tiscali, 38 34.170 S, 166 26.550 E, 64.85 nm, 8.11 kt, 38 °T, 680.40 nm
5. Pindar, 43 01.360 S, 164 02.100 E, 17.48 nm, 2.19 kt, 12 °T, 947.46 nm
6. Ocean Planet, 42 25.380 S, 160 07.120 E, 70.74 nm, 8.83 kt, 86 °T, 1049.90 nm

Class 2
Boat Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1. Tommy Hilfiger, 40 32.240 S, 160 28.000 E, 57.90 nm, 7.23 kt, 67 °T, 975.62 nm
2. Everest Horizontal, 45 23.480 S, 143 35.020 E, 49.66 nm, 6.22 kt, 116 °T, 1769.85 nm
3. Spirit of Canada, 44 30.000 S, 138 12.400 E, 67.33 nm, 8.42 kt, 84 °T, 1980.45 nm
4. Spirit of yukoh, 45 10.000 S, 133 46.000 E, 70.04 nm, 8.75 kt, 100 °T, 2173.07 nm
5. BTC Velocity, 43 31.480 S, 119 39.050 E, 60.15 nm, 7.52 kt, 58 °T, 2783.83 nm

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