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1 December 2004, 04:29 pm
Samsung Gambles To The East
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2004 Global Challenge
Buenos Aires (ARG) - Wellington (NZL)

Samsung's gamble to chase the winds to the east may not pay dividends. There are northerly winds produced by an area of high pressure lying to the north east but this high pressure will move offshore and dissipate so may not hold the winds they were anticipating.

As a cold front approaches from the west, passing over the fleet in the next few hours, the winds won't be as strong as previously expected. The safest place to be will probably be the west, as demonstrated by BG SPIRIT and SAIC La Jolla who have ousted Me to You from the tussle with Spirit of Sark and BP Explorer still first and second respectively.

Eero Lehtinen, skipper of SAIC La Jolla, will e delighted with the latest positions as he was paranoid with how slow they had been going He reported 'some odd shivering in the hull' so dropped the spinnaker and sent Jeremy Message, over the side to inspect the keel, rudder and propeller.

No problems could be found, which led Eero to conclude that both they and BG SPIRIT (who had dropped back yesterday) were stuck in a 'private counter current…even with hindsight we couldn't find a way to avoid this, so we just had to put it behind and made a new plan for the coming 48 hours.' The plan has obviously worked!

News just into Race HQ show that Pindar have lost a spinnaker. We called the skipper, Loz Marriott who explained: 'We were putting up our 2.2 oz spinnaker and were hit with about 35 knots of wind from behind. Unfortunately a sheet was released, we lost control of the spinnaker and it shredded into 100 pieces. It then got caught under the rudder, we crash gybed and had to cut it away.'

QUOTES FROM THE FLEET

DAVID MELVILLE (BP Explorer):

'The competition coming into BA was the tightest ever seen in the Global Challenge races and probably out of most yacht races in general.

'There's a massive amount of close competition in this race where the smallest mistake can cost you dearly.

'At the minute the winds have gone all over the place! There are lighter winds to the west, which are building, and strengthening as the low builds, which should get us straight down to Cape Horn.'

EERO LEHTINEN (SAIC):

'Wind just back from north to west, dropped from 30 to 20 knots so have gone from poled out to reaching. The fast ride goes on as the water temperature keeps dropping and we're trying to stay out of the Falkland Current although can't avoid it completely. We're trying to stick to the Rhum Line where possible and not adding too much distance. The real start line for this leg is Cape Horn!'

DEE CAFFARI (Imagine It. Done):

'Plotting positions every six hours is really keeping the fleet on their toes. We have sailed 540 miles and still the fleet is within 35 miles of each other with an East to West spread of 120 miles.

'The hardest decisions along this coast are to decide about staying inshore out of unfavourable current hoping to sail the shortest distance, or to sail offshore more to stronger winds. Historically boats to the East have made gains, however as always there was the '96 race where those that stayed West made the best gains.

'All these decisions milling around in your head plus what 11 other yachts are doing. Being so close you can cross another yacht very easily and this is not the race where going off on a flyer pays off. You need to stay in touch with the rest of the fleet in order to compete.

' Our plan is to sail a higher course to maintain speed and come inside the light patch and pick up the stronger breeze in the West first, to then sail back down to the rumline to enter La Maire Straits. There are a sequence of depressions crossing from the Pacific over Patagonia that are causing all our breeze to change to a westerly. The risk with sailing towards the coast is the slight shadowing effect that the coast line may have on the wind strength.

FLEET POSITIONS

1. Spirit of Sark 5,391

2. BP Explorer 5,393

3. SAIC La Jolla 5,396

4. BG SPIRIT 5,397

5. Barclays Adventurer 5,398

6. VAIO 5,400

7. Me to You 5,401

8. Team Stelmar 5,401

9. Samsung 5,402

10. Imagine It. Done 5,404

11. Pindar 5,406

12. Team Save the Children 5,407

Rachel Anning (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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