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2 October 2001, 01:30 pm
Night Stalkers
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Volvo Ocean Race

Rudi Rudiger writes from Assa Abloy as they try to pass Tyco to take over the lead on the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Team News Corp lies third and Amer Sports One fourth as they race through the Canary Islands towards Cape Town, South Africa.
Some of you may have noticed by now that Assa Abloy makes her best moves at night. So we've nicknamed ourselves the 'night stalkers'. We're living up to that reputation at this very moment. We have been chasing Tyco for two days now slowly eeking out boat length by boat length. We are benefiting now from having the only new generation identical two-boat testing program in that we know for sure the subtle differences in sail setting and optimum angles to sail. While some of the other teams had more sailing time, we had quicker learning, which is even more accelerated this last week.

At the moment we are making our big move to pass before sunrise. They are just to leeward off the port bow 15 boat lengths. Roy has been driving like a possessed panther for hours and won't give up the helm until we are ahead. The advantage of passing them close at night, is that during the day, by the rules, they are allowed to take evasive manoeuvres to stop us from passing, but at night, they have to adhere to the 'regulations for safety and prevention of collisions at sea', and must not alter course when an overtaking vessel passes. So we are pushing hard to get by them before official sunrise.

Meanwhile, the three musketeers, illbruck, Amer One, and News Corp have split from us and gone more east looking for pressure. SEB has been making good gains there and has me concerned, but we're predicting the wind to soften there next 24 hrs and extra distance sailed won't be rewarded. The key to our success is the wind shifting to north-northeast before they have a chance to gain bearing on pressure. We will then win on the shift.

Our enemy at the moment is this pesky ridge that we just fought through. It wants to drift south with us and keep the wind soft left. Time will tell, but SEB will be back in this race.

Because of the light trades, we are continuing to squirrel away food and supplies. We still have the doldrums to get through, and they're not looking so good either. Life on board is becoming more regular, and we all live from sked to sked...like many of you, except we have one single daily focus...get AART [ASSA ABLOY Racing Team] on the top of the list. Back to the weather and strategy work for me, it's heating up in the navcenter in all respects.

By for now
Rudi Rudiger
Assa Abloy


For the up to date positions and more news on the race go to the event website.
Rudi Rudiger/News Editor
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