Multis round Britain

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Monday September 9th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

In a rather annoying display of distrust, the exact progress of Maiden 2 and Geronimo on their non-stop Round Britain record attempts is still extremely vague. It seems likely that both boats will finish tomorrow and if this is the case both will break Steve Fossett's record. But the question remains - which will be the faster?

One significant factor will be the weather the boats experience on the home straight. This will be light and may once again favour Geronimo who only has to get back up the Channel to the Lizard, while Maiden 2 must sail roughly 160 miles beyond this point to their start line off Ventnor on the south east side of the Isle of Wight. The finish of Orange's recent attempt on this record, where Bruno Peyron's big cat was becalmed within sight of the line and failed to break the existing record by a matter of minutes, will no doubt be playing on the Maiden 2 collective conscience.

The American model shows light southerly winds off the coast of Ireland and in the southern Irish Sea and light easterlies backing to the west in the Channel as a shallow area of low pressure shifts north. For Maiden 2 the light west southwesterlies look set to remain through Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Maiden 2 must reach the line off Ventnor by 09:53:33 GMT on Wednesday, while Geronimo must pass the Lizard by 09:12:29 GMT Wednesday.

Looking back at the conditions the boats have experienced, we think that Geronimo had the best run early on when they were able to charge up the Channel at time when Maiden 2 was becalmed. Both boats would have found Saturday hard work as they fought to get through a large area of no wind in the northern area of the North Sea and around the Shetlands. In theory with less wetted area the trimaran should have been faster in the light.

The run down from the Shetlands to St Kilda and south past the west coast of Ireland in strong reaching and running conditions would have favoured Maiden 2 - the cat is potentially faster than the tri in these conditions and the Maiden 2 crew team, led on board by the ballsey and talented multihull sailor Brian Thompson, have more experience gettiing the most of the big cat in this type of weather.

In the light stuff going across the Irish Sea and back up the Channel, once again Geronimo should have the edge speed-wise.

We shall see...

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