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15 February 2001, 09:48 am
Cape Horn On Sunday
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At around 03.00 UTC on Sunday, Club Med should cross Cape Horn's line of longitude. Team Adventure has passed 150°, east line of longitude (Tasmania) to enter into the Pacific, the biggest of the world's oceans.
Warta-Polpharma has lengthened her stride, currently gliding along under Australia at less than 1000 miles behind Team Adventure. After a short north-east tack to avoid an area of high pressure, Team Legato has put a bit more east into her course and is even giving herself the odd fright as she surfs down some of the waves.

Lying in his bunk, but wide awake, Franck Proffit (Club MEd) had this to say about the Horn approach. " Rounding Cap Horn ? It's going to be a great moment and we're all looking forward to it. We ran into some light air overnight with just 6/8 knots of wind which slowed us down. Loick will reduce the gap a little but we should be rounding the Horn with the onset of a low pressure system, so we should skim along pretty fast! We'll be gybing 30 miles from now to get back on course."

Club MEd has been having fun flirting close to the coast of some Chilean islands. She had no choice but to make a large hook north to skirt round the edge of an area of fickle wind. A 24-hour average speed of 18.2 knots for the leading cat, just as Innovation Explorer clocked up a 24.2-knot average. Whilst Innovation Explorer should be rounding the Horn during daylight hours on Monday, she will more importantly have to lengthen her stride if she is to avoid a major area of low pressure lying to the south.

Analysis form Gilles Chiorri of Meteo Consult predicted "All of the weather data indicate that this depression is going to be somewhere in the order of 40/45 knots. But Innovation Explorer can expect to come across winds in the region of 50/55 knots". Should keep the going lively, and it is only to be expected around Drake Strait. It is a well-known fact that here the wind has the habit of strengthening at the constricted point between the American and Antarctic continents.

Club MEd will be surfing her way through this big blow and Innovation Explorer is hoping to get through before the worst part arrives in town. Le Mignon continued " We should get through in time. We should make it round before it manages to catch up with us. At least, that's what we're hoping for ! We've got a foretaste of what's to come with the swell. This succession of lows has produced quite a cross sea".

As for Team Adventure, she has set foot into a new dimension, the Pacific Ocean. Although she could do with adding a spot of north to her heading to steer a direct course to New Zealand, a wide area of high pressure sitting over the Tasman Sea has put paid to that idea. Cam Lewis's maxi-cat is going to have to sail along the 45th parallel to and stick with a slim corridor of wind as far as the southern tip of New Zealand some 700 miles away. Whatever the upshot, sooner or later, she will have no choice but to face up to the " Tasman calms " just like her predecessors.

Warta-Polpharma has found a spot of wind to increase her lead over Team Legato to more than 1 000 miles. Both boats have latched onto a train of lows which should bring them on to the edge of the Pacific. Team Legato should cross the Cape Leeuwin's line of longitude sometime tomorrow, on a level with the south-western tip of Australia.

Ranking (10/02/01 15:00:00)

Name Speed DTF DTL
1 Club MEd 22.0 7381.8 0
2 Innovation Explorer 24.3 8215.5 833.8
3 TeamAdventure 24.4 12423.5 5041.7
4 Warta Polpharma 23.2 13330.5 5948.7
5 Team Legato 25.2 14287.2 6905.5

Great Pictures now online from Giles Martin-Raget , PPL and Carlo Borlenghi
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