Class two race for podium

Around Alone competitors face tricky conditions into New Zealand.

Tuesday January 21st 2003, Author: Mary Ambler, Location: Transoceanic
It has been a trying few days for the three Class 2 skippers racing for the podium places in Leg 3 of Around Alone in the northern Tasman Sea, as fickle winds makes the going slow and frustrating. The fight for second in the Class 2 overall rankings is being hotly contested by American skipper Tim Kent on Open 50 Everest Horizontal and Canadian Derek Hatfield on Open 40 Spirit of Canada. Both are on equal points after the first 2 legs, and so whoever finishes after Class leader Brad Van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America into Tauranga, New Zealand, will establish themselves in second place overall.

Tim Kent has rounded Cape Reinga, the northern tip of New Zealand, and is now 105 miles ahead of Hatfield, but is living on a blackened boat thanks to a faulty engine and dealing with ripped sails caused by faulty furling gear. "I am sailing with a large rip in my headsail," Kent said in a satellite phone call. "Since the wind is light and the sails are eased, I think it’s going to be okay and I need the sail area." Never a truer word said as the wind is forecast to move into the west and decrease during the day.

Meanwhile Canadian Derek Hatfield is turning the corner right on the 06:00hrs position report, characteristically pushing is Open 40 Spirit of Canada as hard as he can – and still pumping thousands of gallons of water out of his boat each day. "Tim is proving elusive and Koji is threatening more and more. What a great race we have going. The three of us are pushing hard for those two podium places and one little mistake or breakage will be costly, so it's a constant conflict as to how hard to push versus losing ground by going slower but safer. To complicate things, a high pressure system looms ahead of us just at the Cape, threatening to bring us all together." Spirit of Canada is a fast boat in light winds and Tim Kent will have his work cut out for him sailing down the coast of New Zealand if the conditions remain light and variable.

Also in the hunt for a podium position is Japanese Kojiro Shiraishi on his Finot ‘40 Spirit of yukoh 62 miles from Hatfield. While the leading boats were sailing in light winds, Spirit of yukoh was back in strong headwinds and it was the constant pounding that was uppermost on Koji’s mind. "My life is full of punching. I jump over every adverse circumstance that comes my way, and I run towards my dreams. I experience many knock downs, but I still learn to stand up. And people still support me. Carrying that support, I run. The winds will change. Someday, following winds will blow. Carrying that hope, I run. The dreams of many children ride with you. Their dreams will probably come true. Believing that, I run into the wind!"

While the end is almost in sight for these three skippers, the whole Tasman looms ahead for Alan Paris on BTC Velocity. At 21:00 local time Monday 20th January, Alan resumed racing after a 52 hour stop in Tasmania to fix a broken stay. The wind was blowing from the west and Paris, in another remarkable display of seamanship, simply cast off and sailed away from the dock.

The Open 60 sailors might provide the excitement of the race with their spectacular machines and lightening fast speeds, but the Open 40 and 50 sailors are the soul of the event with their introspection and humor. We salute them and all the skippers in Tauranga are waiting for their arrival into port at this half way stage in the race.

Leg 3 Provisional Rankings – Class 1
1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux finished at 22:24:43 GMT 8th JAN 03 after 25 days, 12 hours, 24 minutes, 43 seconds
2. Solidaires finished at 09:03:54 GMT 9th JAN 03 after 26 days, 23 hours, 03 minutes, 54 seconds
3. Hexagon finished at 06:38:18 GMT 14th JAN 03 after 30 days, 20 hours, 38 minutes, 18 seconds
4. Tiscali finished at 16:30:19 GMT 14th JAN 03 after 32 days, 6 hours, 30 minutes, 19 seconds
5. Ocean Planet finished at 21:17:22 15th JAN 03 after 32 days, 11 hours, 17 minutes, 22 seconds
6. Pindar finished at 23:51:12 GMT 15th JAN 03 after 32 days, 13 hours, 51 minutes, 12 seconds

Leg 3 Provisional Rankings – Class 2
1. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America finished at 02:05:56 GMT 16th JAN 03 after 32 days, 14 hours, 5 minutes, 56 seconds

Class 2
Boat Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
2. Everest Horizontal, 35 11.290 S, 174 24.820 E, 49.52 nm, 129 °T, 190.10 nm
3. Spirit of Canada, 34 19.380 S, 172 43.860 E, 31.51 nm, 71 °T, 295.74 nm
4. Spirit of yukoh, 35 11.290 S, 171 24.820 E, 24.29 nm, 193 °T, 367.46 nm
5. BTC Velocity, 42 09.500 S, 151 14.380 E, 65.40 nm, 72 °T, 1395.30 nm

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