Across the Equator

Bernard Stamm continues to lead charge south in Around Alone

Wednesday October 30th 2002, Author: Mary Ambler, Location: Transoceanic
Today Bernard Stamm was the first in the Around Alone fleet to make the foray into the southern hemosphere. The class one leader crossed the Equator at 1300 hrs GMT exactly. However the Swiss skipper is not resting, despite his 197 mile lead.

Pindar and Solidaires took the risk of crossing [the Doldrums] further to the east, and once they have come through, they will be in a better position than me, as I will have to sail back all those degrees in longitude towards the east,” commented Stamm. He also complimented Pindar skipper, Emma Richards. “She has nothing to be jealous about in her position, she is attacking me on a boat which is much harder to manoeuvre – I take my hat off to her!” Pindar is a water ballasted Open 60, whereas Stamm's Bobst Group-Armor Lux has a canting keel.

The latest positions show the three boats chasing Stamm in Class 1 finally emerging from the Doldrums and into more stable winds, even if they are headwinds. Not long after Stamm's crossing, a message came through to Race HQ from Thierry Dubois on third placed Solidaires to say that he had definitely come through the Doldrums at 21 deg W – much further east than the others. This was “thanks to the northerly movement of the weather system otherwise known as the ‘Intertropical Convergence Zone’, which was already quite high up at the time,” commented Dubois.

Emma Richards’ second place has been threatened a little given her more westerly position, but she is on the outside track now compared to Dubois as they position themselves to skirt around the South Atlantic High.

Emma’s log came earlier in the day from Pindar and at the time she was still concerned about both Hexagon and Solidaires coming through on either side of her: “It's funny, yesterday I saw some telltale trade wind clouds, little fluffy cumulus, all lined up, was sure the wind would just slowly increase and come round as my weather info tells me! Wrong, I just missed it and it has changed on my doorstep and I have a horrible feeling both sides of me is looking better and they'll leave me for dead, I am patiently waiting (well, kind of) the updated grib files. This is not exactly a safe second place, but I relish it while I have it and push harder to keep it!”

Three boats in Class 2 are flanked together as they pass through the Canary Islands, just over 180 miles behind leader Brad Van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. Open 50 Everest Horizontal is vying for second place with her smaller rivals Open 40s Spirit of yukoh and Spirit of Canada. Kindly northeasterly trades are keeping their average speed at around 7 knots, which must be a relief for the skippers after the frustratingly weak conditions of previous days.

Back marker John Dennis on Bayer Ascensia has also found more consistent wind and had a great day's sailing, which does wonders for a solo skipper's morale. Another boost for these singlehanders is the modern technology on board which allows them to keep in constant contact with both Race Organisation and of course family and friends.

Dennis explains how vital this link to the rest of the world is: “The e-mail onboard and my Iridium phone which has worked well since Spain where I shortened the antenna lead and moved the antenna are a god send for keeping in touch with home and my wife, children and other family members. Both my children are in their last year of university and are both doing well despite worrying about dad. My son, Frank who is away at school tends to phone more. My daughter, Stephanie keeps the e-mail working overtime and keeps the map of the world marked daily with my position reports and generally gives large doses of moral support to my wife Penny. Thanks, Stephanie.”

Positions at 1400hrs GMT 30th October

Class 1
Boat Time Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1 Bobst Group Armor-Lux 0 08.480 S 24 35.000 W 7.85 kt 199 °T 3983.75 nm
2 Pindar 2 57.840 N 22 41.400 W 7.47 kt 207 °T 4181.16 nm
3 Solidaires 3 20.029 N 21 03.366 W 7.73 kt 206 °T 4218.26 nm
4 Hexagon 4 36.021 N 26 35.184 W 6.66 kt 197 °T 4262.57 nm
5 Ocean Planet 27 14.440 N 14 26.360 W 8.60 kt 212 °T 5799.33 nm
6 Tiscali 43 27.320 N 8 21.000 W 0.00 kt 0 °T 6799.83 nm

Class 2
Boat Time Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1 Tommy Hilfiger 26 11.440 N 16 45.640 W 8.24 kt 202 °T 5688.13 nm
2 Spirit of yukoh 17 01.885 W 7.23 kt 203 °T 5870.08 nm
3 Spirit of Canada 28 57.760 N 15 19.680 W 6.42 kt 208 °T 5871.06 nm
4 Everest Horizontal 28 59.340 N 15 07.140 W 5.58 kt 221 °T 5877.14 nm
5 BTC Velocity 29 18.640 N 15 40.400 W 7.17 kt 187 °T 5882.57 nm
6 Bayer Ascensia 30 25.880 N 15 18.000 W 5.91 kt 201 °T 5951.89 nm

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