illbruck steps out

Kostecki sets his mark on leg seven

Tuesday April 30th 2002, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: Transoceanic
Positions at 10.00 30 April 2002
Latitude Longitude DTF SMG TFHR DTL DTL-C Pts
1 illbruck 38 05.96N 066 30.84W 2934 19.2 415 0 0 49
2 Assa Abloy 37 55.08N 066 47.52W 2950 19.1 401 16 1 41
3 Tyco 38 00.80N 066 54.12W 2953 18.9 398 19 2 33
4 SEB 38 02.08N 066 57.72W 2956 17.9 396 22 8 26
5 Amer One 37 51.67N 066 55.92W 2957 19.2 399 23 0 36
6 news 38 03.80N 067 00.36W 2957 17.7 394 23 9 34
7 djuice 37 47.44N 067 21.16W 2977 16.1 381 43 19 23
8 Amer Too 37 46.60N 067 58.92W 3006 16.3 361 72 18 10

illbruck has stepped on the gas in the last 24 hours and has pulled out a lead of some 14 miles on the pursuing pack. illbruck's gain seems to have come from pure speed rather than tactical advantage. Though sailing almost exactly the same course as those behind, illbruck has done so nearly one knot faster than the others.

At the back of the fleet, Amer Sport Too's early tactical move to the south has proved unsuccessful. Now more than twice as far behind the fleet as second-last placed djuice, Amer Sports Too is so far proving as slow as illbruck is fast.

The reasons for who is fast and why are so far unexplained with little information coming from the boats in the last 24 hours. On past form it seems reasonable to speculate that illbruck has a well developed set of sails for the downwind conditions the fleet is now experiencing. Perhaps the surprise of the leg so far is SEB who seem destined to spend the entire race steeped in either joy or despair with little in between. So far on this leg they have been showing good speed without suffering the problems that have beset them in previous legs.

Amer Sports One are struggling to keep on the pace, and despite claims and counterclaims from Dalton and others, it seems likely that Grant Dalton is not so far from the truth when he says that his boat is just a fraction off the pace broad reaching in moderate conditions.

For the time being at least, leg seven looks set to continue as a boat-speed race offering the navigators few tactical options. Winds for the next few days look set to remain north or northwesterly and moderate in strength. By the end of the week, the fleet should have picked up the low pressure system which is currently forming over Newfoundland. This will propel them on their way at high speed to and past the edge of the 'ice-box' set by the race committee to keep the fleet out of danger.

Only when the fleet are past the ice-box will the options start and open up. The big decision than will be whether to sail further north in search of stronger winds or keep south on the more direct track.

More pictures from the start on pages two and three

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