The inevitable Sill

Roland Jourdain's Open 60 leads the Rubicon fleet into the Med

Friday May 24th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
Positions at 1300GMT
Pos Boat Lat Long Speed Course DTF DTL
1 Sill Plein Fruit 35 53.68' N 5 35.16' W 3.9 74 865.7 0
2 Bobst Group Armor Lux 35 51.80' N 5 52.76' W 9.4 58 879.9 14.1
3 Kingfisher 35 47.68' N 5 56.20' W 8.5 45 884.7 19
4 Tiscali 35 46.28' N 5 59.64' W 9.3 47 884.9 19.2
5 Virbac 35 41.68' N 6 32.48' W 10.1 55 913.6 47.9
6 Temenos 35 38.28' N 6 36.20' W 9.9 61 917.5 51.8
The six Open 60s in the Regate de Rubicon are currently passing through the Straits of Gibraltar en route to Santa Margherita on the Italian riviera.

After leaving Yaiza, Lanzarote on Tuesday morning they have had an upwind slog. As in leg one it was Simone Bianchetti's Tiscale which took an early lead only to be overhauled by Roland Jourdain's Sill Plein Fruit .

However the forecast shows that the race will turn into a lottery as the wind packs up from the front of the fleet. The boats are already struggling to get into the Mediterranean as the wind has gone light and this will cause a concertinaing of the fleet as the tailenders catch up. The data above that Sill is down to 3.9 knots, while those immediatley astern are up to 8.5 knots or more. Bernard Stamm has done particularly well heading offshore to the north. Forecast charts show that conditions will get lighter still as the boats get further into the Strait and into the Med later this afternoon.

"We're just relieved to be back on course, and to be able to take the strain off the sheets for once!" commented leader Jourdain. "On the other hand, it's going to get calmer out here, and I can see a set of traffic lights ahead. There is definitely going to be a regrouping of the fleet at the Straits! So another restart, the crew are prepared for this eventuality, and we're holding on to every inch of sea water we can put between us and the others."

Nick Moloney who has taken over as skipper on Kingfisher, feels much the same: "I have just started to look at weather in the looks difficult right from the beginning and we could see a total re-start from Gibraltar. I hope not as we have worked hard for our position so far and are still in a position to attack first. I don't want to see the boats astern again as the fleet is so competitive. Dominique is very experienced in the Med so I think we will need every mile of the buffer we have right now on Temenos."

Dominique Wavre is steadily making up for his 92 mile deficit and, clocking the fastest speeds in the fleet, is now 68 miles behind and closing fast.

See page two for Nick Moloney's on board diary

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