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9 December 2004, 04:35 pm
Fight Between Leading Pair Rages On!
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

The gap between the top two has shrunk to 2nm, the chasing pack have clawed back the miles lost overnight and VAIO and Samsung have both overtaken the teams above them since this morning's poll.
VAIO has taken fourth place back from Me to You, and Samsung has continued marching up the leaderboard - this time overtaking Barclays Adventurer to lay claim to sixth.

In an interview yesterday, BP Explorer's skipper David MELVILLE reported that the heaters are not working below deck - an unfortunate problem as the temperature gradually drops the further south they sail. In tactical terms, logic is of course the master of desire, but the problem with the heater is compounding the understandable wish (most likely reflected across the fleet judging from the daily logs) that they will not have to head too much further south:

'Continuous winds that are north of west mean the logical route is to the south,' explained David MELVILLE, 'but as our latitude draws level with some of the islands on the Antarctic Peninsula, we all have our fingers crossed for a shift.'

Me to You reported some problems with their watermaker, which instigated strict rationing and ingenious uses for salt water. James ALLEN described the problem in his daily log earlier today:

'We have discovered that the high-pressure pump that is essential to the watermaker's operation is leaking and therefore not supplying water at a high enough pressure. The good news is that we have a set of spare seals for the pump so we should be able to fix it. We are now waiting for some calm weather, as we need to remove the pump and dismantle it to replace the seals - not an easy job in a workshop let alone a galley table bouncing around in the Southern Ocean.'

Thankfully the conditions allowed the team to disassemble the watermaker today and 21 o-ring seals were replaced. The latest news from the yacht indicates there is no longer a leak, and hopefully a return to full operational fitness should be confirmed soon.

Eero LEHTINEN, skipper of SAIC La Jolla and Clive COSBY, skipper of Team Stelmar have both reported that conditions are much lighter today. The wind has dropped to about 13 knots for most of the teams and light, variable conditions are forecast for the next 24-hours or so. When the next low-pressure system moves in from the west the winds will rise and the multiple sail changes will begin again in earnest!

Clive COSBY also took the opportunity this afternoon to thank Stelmar for their help and support during their medical evacuation, before asserting that the team intends to fight all the way to Wellington to take some good points away from this leg despite their setback. Unfortunately for the team, although they made a prudent decision to divert off the racecourse to make the drop off before entering the expanse of Southern Ocean that lies between Cape Horn and the finish line - there is no avenue for redress.

The International Sailing Federation's Racing Rules for Sailing (Section 62); the external sailing rules that govern the race, do not allow for redress for the time lost in this situation. In the 2000 race, Logica were in a similar situation, and they did not receive any redress for time lost. In fact, they were penalised a point for not returning to the exact point at which they left the racecourse before officially rejoining the race.

Safety has always been paramount throughout the history of the race, and the skippers base their decisions on the most important factor of all - the safety of all those onboard. Team Stelmar will now have to force thier way back into the race with sheer determination and sailing ability, and so far they are doing a grand job of it.

On an afternoon packed with news, we can also report that Iain PARR, Crew Volunteer aboard Team Save the Children, became a father for the first time last night. His wife Catherine gave birth to Amy in Bangkok as he raced out into the Southern Ocean. Iain described his emotions before the birth in an interview recently, and today Campo (Anthony CAMPBELL) described events on board when the news came through:

'It's been an emotional few days for Iain, not only has he had to deal with all the day to day sailing issues, but also the imminent birth of his first child. The sense of relief when he made the call from the boat and found out everything had gone fine was huge. There were a few tears of joy and maybe a hint of sadness that he couldn't be there with Cat for the birth, but overall I think the overriding feeling was of relief and happiness.'
Dan Wedgewood (As Amended by ISAF)
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