Blistering run

Around Alone leaders make hay in front of a depression but headwinds await them en route to Brixham

Tuesday September 24th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
In yesterday's report it seems we were a little premature in stating that the front runners were feeling the effects of the high pressure system currently parked over the UK. The low pressure system that those in the middle of class one were riding to the south of yesterday unusually tracked in a south easterly direction where forecasts show it joining up with another low centred around 40degN 25degW by tomorrow. This system then should be located to the south west of the front runners giving them headwinds to the finish the strength of which will depend on their latitude - there will be more pressure in the south. Currently Bernard Stamm should be experiencing winds of 18-20 knots from just starboard of his desired course.

Over yesterday the front runners in class one were being swept along by this low pressure system to the extent that Thierry Dubois on Solidaires clocked up an impressive 400.7 miles (between 1500GMT Sunday through until Monday). This is 5 miles more than race winner Giovanni Soldini managed in 1998, but 30 miles short of the outright singlehanded monohull 24 hour record Dominique Wavre set on board Union Bancaire Privee during the last Vendee Globe.

Conditions have been particularly bad for Graham Dalton and Patrick de Radigues as they were to the north of the low pressure system as it passed across the fleet yesterday and last night. To the south Emma Richards has now overhauled Bruce Schwab, whose Ocean Planet is suffering from a broken boom.

Not far behind them Brad van Liew holds a collosal lead in class two aboard his Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. Prior to the start Brad said he wasn't going to push the boat - under the points system for Around Alone he only needs to finish one minute in front of the second places boat to win and the sensible thing to do is to hang back. However the 30 knot following winds and good surfing conditions over the weekend have clearly overcome Brad's conversative pretensions and this morning he was almost 550 miles ahead of Derek Hatfield, who has regained second place from John Dennis.

Dennis it must be said was not rated highly before the start. He is the oldest skipper in the race sailing a hastily prepared boat, that despite being eight years old has never raced before. However in the old sea dog's hands she is going extremely well. Brian Hancock must feel a stange mixture of pride and sickness to see his old boat doing so well.

See the reports from Bruce Schwab and Graham Dalton on pages two and three

Positions: Class One at 1148 GMT

Pos Boat Skipper Lat Long Speed DTF DTL 8hr run
1 Bobst Group-Armor Lux B Stamm 49.7 -13.97 10 420.8 41
2 Solidaires T Dubois 49.07 -15.43 10 483.1 62.3 40
3 Hexagon G Dalton 49.75 -22.92 11.2 765.4 344.6 28.6
4 Tiscali S Bianchetti 49.84 -23.07 9 770.8 350 27.8
5 Garnier P de Radigues 48.75 -23.51 6 798.7 377.8 24.7
6 Pindar E Richards 49.03 -24.96 8.2 851.4 430.5 39.1
7 Ocean Planet B Schwab 48.2 -26.31 - 915.1 494.2 21.4

Positions: Class Two at 1148

Pos Boat Skipper Lat Long Speed DTF DTL 8hr run
1 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America B van Liew 48.29 -28.11 6 982.9 14.1
2 Spirit of Canada D Hatfield 47.1 -41.71 1527.8 544.9 36.2
3 Bayer Ascensia J Dennis 45.61 -40.91 6.8 1530.3 547.4 30.7
4 Everest Horizontal T Kent 42.22 -43.92 9 1737.7 754.8 28.3
5 BTC Velocity A Paris 45.17 -48.95 2 1850 867.1 1.4
6 Spirit of yukoh K Shiraishi 45.03 -49.93 1891.1 908.2 276.9

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