Kingfisher down the tubes

As Stamm and Jourdain jockey for first place in Regata de Rubicon

Sunday May 26th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Mediterranean
Positions at 0500GMT
Pos Boat Lat Long Speed Course DTF DTF
1 Bobst Group Armor Lux 37 43.04' N 0 18.40' E 6.6 73 565.9 0
2 Sill Plein Fruit 37 41.36' N 0 13.68' E 6.7 73 569.7 3.8
3 Temenos 37 30.44' N 0 03.36' W 6.1 83 586.9 21
4 Tiscali 37 24.76' N 0 24.72' W 7 65 602.6 36.7
5 Kingfisher 37 13.00' N 0 45.12' W 5.7 347 622.4 56.5

In the Regata de Rubicon the fleet are still making slow progress towards the finish line at Santa Margherita-Ligure, Italy. They are running downwind in light conditions off the Spanish coast.

After a day of match racing, overnight Bernard Stamm's Bobst Group-Armor Lux has overtaken and pulled out the smallest of margins over the seemingly invincible Sill by taking a more inshore route. "It's like being in a Grand Prix," declared Gael Le Cleac'h from Sill Plein Fruit. "We always expected that the others would return to the front but after so much work we put in to get that far ahead, it's inevitably a little frustrating."

But the biggest surprise in the rankings is that of Kingfisher, skippered by Nick Moloney, who following their flier across to the Spanish side of the Straits of Gibraltar is now wallowing in fifth place with considerable ground to make up. The flier which Moloney has failed to pull off was similar to the one which Stamm succeeded in doing during last night. "We had information that there was wind to the north," Kingfisher crewman and veteran ocean racer Hervé Jan explained. "In theory that was the pattern, but in practice it didn't happen. It's one of the Med's specialities: if there is no dominant system, lots of other anomalies in the weather pattern will occur. We took a gamble and lost big time!"

However the meteorological vagaries of the Mediterranean are far from over yet and there is at least one mix up still to come. "I think that after Gata Point, there is a little high pressure, which could turn the fleet order upside down again," predicted Tiscali Global Challenge's Italian skipper Simone Bianchetti. "We are pushing for speed, without straying too far from the route we have chosen to follow. Are we working hard on deck? Well for the moment we are working on some pasta!"

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