Since 0100 GMT this Thursday, Club Med has Broken the 24 hour distance record several times. The salvo started with 631.7 miles sailed in 24 hours at 0100 GMT, then 634.8 miles by 0600 GMT, 652.4 miles by 0830 GMT to finally reach 655.2 miles at 1100 GMT.
The leading boat has killed three birds with one stone: she has closed the gap with Cape Horn, stretched the gap with Innovation Explorer and has notched up one of her finest records.
Seven times since 0100 GMT, Club MEd broke the record for the greatest distance ever covered by a sailboat. This record belonged to Club MEd before The Race (625.7 miles covered between Cadiz and San Salvador last June 11th), was beaten by Innovation Explorer between Thursday and Friday of last week in the Tasman Sea. Loick Peyron and his crew scored 629.5 miles in 24 hours, and that was already a remarkable run. "Last February 2nd our great rival Innovation Explorer stole our glory by doing a couple of miles more," said Grant Dalton, co-skipper of Club MEd, this morning. "We took up the challenge at the first occasion, that's to say less than one week later. It all started between 0800 and 0900 GMT yesterday. It was relatively easy because the weather was ideal, a perfect wind angle and flat sea. As we're more than halfway round, we have consumed a large part of our stock of food and fuel. So the boat is much lighter and inevitably we are sailing faster".
At this speed Club MEd has literally taken things another step forward in the history of ocean racing. She sailed for 24 hours at 27.30 knots average, or more than 50 kph! A very high-class world premier that once again proves the real capacities of these giants.
At 1300 UTC, Club MEd was 1300 miles away from Cape Horn and, taking into consideration the high pressure that should slow her down on the approach to the mythical rock, it is estimated that she will round it on Sunday. Club MEd and Innovation Explorer are the only two boats that have less than 10,000 miles to go to the finish. At yesterday morning's poll at 1100 GMT, the leading catamaran was 8,416 miles from Marseilles and Innovation Explorer was 9,172.1 miles from the Phocaean City.
As for weather, Innovation Explorer has found her wings again and is taking advantage of a 25 knot North-westerly propelling them along at 25.3 knots average. The Peyron/Novak maxi-catamaran is 2,100 miles from Cape Horn, or 800 miles astern of the Dalton/Proffit boat. Team Adventure is sliding under Australia at 24.7 knots average and should reach the Cook Straits sometime on Sunday. "We are also looking after our boat. We have a fragile spot with our repair to the main beam and we're avoiding going too fast in a rough seaway," said Philippe Peche (Team Adventure) during the daily chat session. "We rap Randy Smyth's knuckles every time he goes over 25 knots!" Warta-Polpharma, out of her ridge of high pressure, has at last found some air ahead of a Team Legato hanging on harder than ever in this match within the match, theses two boats are 863.7 miles away from each other.
Ranking (08/02/01 13:30:00)
Name Speed DTF DTL
1 Club MEd Not polled 8353.5 0
2 Innovation Explorer 27.3 9186.6 833.1
3 TeamAdventure Not Polled 13263.9 4910.5
4 Warta Polpharma 19.0 14237.7 5884.3
5 Team Legato 21.2 15103.0 6749.5
Great Pictures now online from Giles Martin-Raget , PPL and Carlo Borlenghi.