Winning streak

illbruck crewman Stu Bannatyne looks back at leg 7 and says they will be faster than ever for leg 8
Leg 8 to Gothenburg is our big opportunity on illbruck to seal an overall race victory. However, as always our tactics will be to sail conservatively with the aim of a podium finish. That's not to say we won't take an opportunity to win the leg if it presents itself but our overall philosophy has not changed. We raced leg 7 from Annapolis to La Rochelle with a very high level of intensity. It was a very demanding leg physically and mentally and we pushed our crew to the limit to extract every bit of speed from our boat. It was a level we could not have maintained for much longer and would not have been suitable on the longer legs we have raced so far. The highlight of the leg (apart from winning!) was our world record 24 hour run. The record was always going to be up for grabs in the Gulf Stream if the weather co-operated. It did and we took full advantage, sailing around 10 miles further than any other boat to claim a new record. Special mention must go to our navigator, Juan Vila, who placed us perfectly to take maximum benefit from the current and Noel Drennan, who worked tirelessly almost without sleep putting our sails back together after a couple of unfortunate blowouts. The sailing was fast but not too demanding and the potential for a 500 mile day in the Stream is a distinct possibility. Now in La Rochelle and after a few days of rest we will be back sailing during the stopover to check new sails. We have four new spinnakers which will need analysis and possible recuts before being considered for race use. One of the most important aspects of a sail programme for this race is to continually