Fight to the finish

Stamm victorious again, but only on the water. Mary Ambler reports from the Around Alone leg 4 finish

Monday March 10th 2003, Author: Mary Ambler, Location: Transoceanic
In the final 24 hours of the 7,880 mile fourth leg of Around Alone, overall Class 1 leader Bernard Stamm, Swiss skipper of Bobst Group-Armor Lux, stole a march on the leg leader Thierry Dubois to take the line honours in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil at 12:39:07 GMT (09:39:07 GMT).

To his credit, Thierry Dubois sailed Solidaires to his first Leg victory across the line at 16:23:30 GMT (13:23:30 local time), a difference of 3 hours and 44 minutes, which is the closest Dubois has finished behind Bernard on the water and after the longest leg.

It was a bittersweet victory for Dubois, who had led the war on the water after Stamm made his enforced stop in the Falklands for 22 hours, until yesterday morning. In Stamm’s words: "Well, normally on pure boat speed I could not overtake Thierry, but he made one error by going inshore the last two days, so he lost the wind." Thwarted from taking line honors, Dubois does however take victory in the leg because Stamm will be given a 48-hour penalty for his stop to repair the broken keelboard. Moreover, the steady and somewhat cautious Dubois did arrive with his boat in pristine condition, which will give him an advantage over Stamm, who has had to call in extra shore crew to fix up the boat for the final leg.

On being asked how he felt after the damage to the keel lost him his lead, Stamm remarked: "Forget the frustration of the broken keel, stopping for 22 hours and getting a penalty - the last three days with no wind and insufferable heat were the worst to endure, it was like being in prison!" Dubois added: "Hell is better - I assure you!"

After an intense week of soaring temperatures on the water and inside the boats, both skippers arrived with storm clouds overhead but still received a true Brazilian welcome at the CENAB (Centro Nautico de Bahia), which included fireworks, fruit and of course, caipirinhas.

Both are now waiting intently for the arrival of Simone Bianchetti on Tiscali and Emma Richards on Pindar - but with mixed feelings. Dubois is hoping they speed up and push Bobst Group - Armor lux into fourth place, while Stamm, of course, is hoping that they will slow down and allow him to come second for the leg: "It is still possible..." he believes. At the last poll Emma and Simone had slowed right up to around 5 knots boat speed, respectively 442 and 562 miles from the finish. It looks very difficult for Emma to arrive inside 48 hours and for Simone to come in second place.

Meanwhile following his dismasting off Cape Horn Derek has made port in Ushuaia and met his shore team, together assessing the options to keep him in the race. Fortunately, help has been flooding in for Hatfield, including offers of replacement rigs and financial donations from around the world.


Class 1
Boat Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF

1 Solidaires 13 13.430 S, 38 35.570 W, 75.00 nm, 9.37 kt, 11 °T, 15.79 nm
2 Tiscali 20 18.430 S, 39 20.280 W, 46.41 nm, 5.81 kt, 52 °T, 442.66 nm
3 Pindar 22 15.240 S, 39 50.140 W, 29.38 nm, 3.67 kt, 29 °T, 562.02 nm
4 Ocean Planet 39 43.460 S, 45 04.030 W, 53.72 nm, 6.71 kt, 345 °T, 1648.39 nm
5 Hexagon 42 45.360 S, 65 00.420 W, 0.00 nm, 0.00 kt, 0 °T, 2342.68 nm

Class 2
Boat Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1 Tommy Hilfiger 24 50.240 S, 40 40.520 W, 60.68 nm, 7.58 kt, 350 °T, 734.83 nm
2 Everest Horizontal 39 59.260 S, 45 31.450 W, 25.53 nm, 3.19 kt, 8 °T, 1670.01 nm
3 Spirit of yukoh 40 48.430 S, 46 00.400 W, 26.58 nm, 3.32 kt, 71 °T, 1723.69 nm
4 BTC Velocity 51 12.380 S, 53 51.450 W, 66.18 nm, 8.26 kt, 67 °T, 2425.24 nm
5 Spirit of Canada 54 49.160 S, 68 14.210 W, 0.00 nm, 0.00 kt, 0 °T, 2907.03 nm

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