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All change overnight as Sill's lead is gobbled up

Friday May 17th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Positions at 0500 GMT
Pos Boat Lat Long Speed Course DTF DTL
1 Sill Plein Fruit 31 40.92' N 12 28.44' W 11 202 191.5 0
2 Bobst Group Armor Lux 32 00.68' N 14 33.08' W 12.8 192 212.4 21
3 Kingfisher 32 29.12' N 12 28.00' W 13.4 199 218 26.5
4 Virbac 32 41.68' N 12 22.08' W 16.4 195 251.5 60
5 Tiscali Global Challenge 32 27.68' N 11 17.00' W 5.5 192 258.5 67.1
6 L'Heautontimoroumenos 33 09.12' N 11 51.48' W 16.6 200 285.1 93.6
7 Temenos 33 02.88' N 11 02.28' W 9.8 194 295.5 104

With less than 200 miles to go to the finish line in Yaiza, Lanzarote, Sill's 50 mile lead from yesterday has been eroded down to just 21 miles, but significantly the flyer Bernard Stamm has pulled out to the west has payed big time overnight and has caused Bobst Group-Armor Lux to move into second place ahead of Kingfisher. Even with 200 miles to go to the finish line Stamm's position is 2 degrees further to the west than Sill. From the current forecast it looks as though Stamm will be able to make the finish line on one tack, while Sill will have to gybe, but has better pressure.

In the reshuffle Simone Bianchetti's Tiscali has dropped to fifth place and their boat speed indicates there may be some problems on board, while Jean-Pierre Dick's slow starter Virbacis finally showing some form moving up to fourth, but more than 30 miles astern of Kingfisher.

"We are half satisfied, but not completely," admitted Sill skipper Roland Jourdain over the prospect of Stamm's charge from the north west, sailing on average 3 knots faster than Sill. Despite their drive to get into first place, all is not entirely well on board Stamm's 60 as water has somehow got into their fuel (a problem Ellen & co have also been experiencing on board Kingfisher).

The front runners should reach the finish line on the south western side of Lanzarote sometime tonight and we will update you during the day if Stamm catches up any further.

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