18 knots average for the hour; is this the end of Club Med's bad dream? Not so fast, as Sandy Fesq explains from race headquarters.
"The boat has reached the Trades, but they're not reliable - it's very possible that the speed will drop again in the coming hours." Well, whatever happens next, at least they can breathe on board now. On the Pacific side, and as Denis Horeau predicted, Warta Polpharma has accelerated away - and note, we're not talking about a temporary patch of luck. Roman and his men have a first class seat on the express train from the west - au revoir, Tony?
At last - Grant is once again into numbers more befitting a leader emblazoned with records, but hold back, it might just be a temporary remission. His course is still due north which is fine if he dosen't plan to get away from the Brazilian coast just yet. Innovation Explorer is still on her northeast heading - though a little more northerly than at the previous fix - and she too has made a better average speed in the hour. To go from 8.8 knots to 12.3 knots is a significant improvement, even if it's still far from a performance worthy of such a machine.
By contrast, in the Southern Ocean, Warta-Polpharma is smoking and is in full-on acceleration mode. 18 knots against 13 at the previous fix, and the best is yet to come for Roman Paszke. He's only begun to touch the flow which will fairly sweep him along once he gets to its heart. The westerly winds are about to drive the men from the Baltic in their assault on the Pacific, and Warta-Polpharma is setting her bows directly on the tracks they are offering her. Tony is now skirting, though at a reduced speed of less than 10 knots, Farewell Spit, the tongue of land that's the northern point of South Island, New Zealand . . . Once past this leg of the course, Team Legato will head southeast to negotiate Cook Strait.
Ranking (18/02/01 07:00:00)
Name Speed DTF DTL
1 Club MEd 18.0 4603.02 0
2 Innovation Explorer 11.0 5449.5 846.2
3 Warta Polpharma 16.4 11160.4 6557.1
4 TeamAdventure 10.1 11317.2 6714.0
5 Team Legato 9.1 11383.5 6780.2