Second attempt at a flier

News from the two handed Melbourne-Osaka race

Sunday March 23rd 2003, Author: Sail-World, Location: Transoceanic
Again the currents are playing a major role in a tense tactical battle in this 5,000-mile race.

Earlier in the race, leaders Maverick II and Kontrol rhumblined towards Gabo Island and three Buffalo Boys tried to go round the outside. They failed to hold their advantage but here they go again.

On Tuesday Funnel Web, Matrix and No Fearr swung wide through Bass Strait and moved to the outside of the course looking for northern flowing back eddies. No Fearr swept to the lead, while the bulk of the fleet stalled south of Gabo Island.

Unfortunately for her, she was forced back to Eden with a diesel spill. Matrix and Funnel Web almost reached the lead but were hammered in heavy seas and slowed while the inside boats moved up the coast, as the coastal weather abated.

But the same move is on again today. At the front of the pack fighting against the south flowing East Australian Current Team FGI and Kontrol have only managed 140 miles
since early Saturday.

Again the Buffalo Boys have been watching the currents. For 29 years sailors in the Gosford to Lord Howe race have used the northern flowing currents further seawards between the seamounts south east of Coffs Harbour to surge northwards.

Finding stronger pressure outside and targeting this northern elevator the Buffalo Boys are back as the outside flier Matrix has sailed 200 miles into contention, with Funnel Web now winding up to a 180 mile day in two knots of positive current.

Earlier this afternoon navigator Sibby Macfadyen had forecast Funnel Web was going to take a flier and at this early stage it seems to be paying. This afternoon husband Ivan reported by satellite phone from Funnel Web her speed over the ground was surging.

As the boats on the coast move north, the East Australian current will intensify and every hour they leave their crossing will produce more pain. For the boats in the
middle it could be a case of move right or be run down.

No Fearr rejoined the race after repairs in Eden on Friday morning. Now moving offshore she is sailing up to the fleet.

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