Team Adventure's Request For Replacement Crew Denied.
Club Med, with 550 miles and more reeled in each day, should reach New Zealand by the end of next week, a little over a month after her start from Barcelona.
The big blue cat has been running like clockwork and hasn't put a foot wrong since entering the Austral latitudes, perfectly exploiting the successive depressions that circle around the Antarctic, offering the best conditions that a giant catamaran could dream of - following winds blowing at a steady 20 to 25 knots.
Penalised in the descent down the South Atlantic by an incomplete set of sails, Innovation Explorer and Loick Peyron missed the Southern Ocean Express and as a result the weather system he's sailing in now is different from ClubMed's. It is above all more complicated because it is not as regular. The consequence is that Loick and his boys are sometimes going fast, sometimes going slowly, often having to follow an erratic path, and are inexorably trailing further and further behind.
The huge depression centred deep down South off the Antarctic is continuing to delight Club Med. Grant Dalton has placed his big catamaran on the edge of this active zone, choosing the winds most suited both to the boat's potential and to his constant concern to spare the men and the equipment. Without any fuss, the blue giant has been tracing a long straight line along latitude 45¡ South, currently on the same longitude as Sri Lanka, heading East on port tack since yesterday and will continue to do so for another two days yet. Whilst the distances covered every 24 hours remain, for the time being, under the record (625 miles), they represent, if you add up the last 6 days, more than the crossing of the North Atlantic! Since Barcelona, Grant, Franck et al, have covered more than 10,527 miles in 24 days, at an average speed of 18.05 knots!
After negotiating some small areas of dying winds yesterday, Innovation Explorer has stated her charge to the East again. The sun is back and the atmosphere seems to be set fair with Loick Peyron's crew. "Our situation remains complicated" explained Loick with his usual good humour. "We should be able to slip between two systems, one low and one high, and zigzag between the islands. We have 24 hours of strong winds ahead of us before deciding whether we must dive down South, even if it means meeting violent winds, or stay on our course and manage the lulls. The sea is nicely organised at the moment. We have set all the "canvass" we possess and we are doing between 25 and 30 knots".
Meanwhile back in Cape Town Cam Lewis announced, "Departure Friday morning at 0900 precisely". The American, is champing at the bit. Since yesterday the Poles are sailing in the Forties and the South is suiting them just fine; Warta-Polpharma is nudging 30 knots in strong Westerlies. Breaking the 500 miles in a day barrier, which would be a record for the boat, is enough to stimulate Roman Paszke's boys.
Ranking (25/01/01 15:00:00)
Name Speed DTF DTL
1 Club MEd 22.0 15208.3 0
2 Innovation Explorer 23.1 15905.1 696.8
3 TeamAdventure 0.0 17941.1 2732.7
4 Warta Polpharma 26.2 18382.6 3174.3
5 Team Legato 9.0 19405.1 4196.7