The absolute record for the distance covered in 24 hours by a yacht has been broken. Innovation Explorer covered more than 629 miles since Thursday noon and far from slackening off, she is continuing her wild ride along the New Zealand coast. The 625 ...
Further ahead, the big blue catamaran of Dalton and Proffit entered the Pacific Ocean this morning. Once clear of the zone of instability created by the tall mountains of South Island, they should quickly pick up the blustery systems of the Southern Ocean, and perhaps claim back the record. Far behind, an ocean away, Tony Bullimore has passed the longitude of the Cape of Needles speeding into the Indian Ocean.
Sailing in the shadow of mountains, Grant Dalton, the Kiwi skipper of Club MEd certainly made it a point of honour to pass through the Cook Straits, this narrow stretch of water that separates the two large islands of his homeland, without a hitch. Following a perfect course close to the rocks and beaches along South Island, reducing the number of miles and the number of tacks to a minimum, Club MEd entered the famous straits this morning, close hauled, in a sea whipped up by the tidal stream. The port of Wellington was left to port in bright sunshine. Grant's family and friends were out in various craft to celebrate the passage of the local boy, in the lead. Then with the southern night, the wind progressively fell. Now Club MEd is going to have to struggle for several hours to get away from the wind shadow of the islands and once again find the latitudes of the Southern Ocean and the powerful Westerly winds. The next stage, and the next landfall, the Horn, barely one week away!
However, while Club MEd is bogged down in her descent to the South-east, Innovation Explorer is charging along to the West of New Zealand in the direction of Cape Farewell. Euphoric, Loick Peyron's boys (and girl) clawed back 140 miles from the leader since yesterday morning. The reward; the record for the greatest distance sailed in 24 hours: 629.52 nautical miles, or 26.6 knots average. Much concentration at the helm and some judicial changes in sail combinations were the ingredients of this success. The question of the stopover in Wellington is still unanswered, the enigmatic Loick reserving his decision until the very last moment.
By entering the Indian Ocean on Friday morning, Tony Bullimore had several reasons to be satisfied. His Team Legato charging along at more than 20 knots in a well established Westerly flow, is getting into her stride and is checking off the miles. For the first time since the start of this crazy adventure, Bullimore is sailing in the same weather system as his immediate adversaries, the Poles on Warta-Polpharma, with the jubilation that the system of high pressure blocking Roman Paszke is favouring their return into the fray. By wedging herself onto the Northern edge of a huge low, Team Legato can gamble on several days of ideal surfing on a manageable sea, under beautiful clear skies and 25 knots of steady Westerly winds.
Given their lead, Warta-Polpharma is not going to risk skirting the anticyclone. Roman Paszke hopes to be able to cross the 300 miles of unstable light airs without too great a setback before quickly setting off again along the direct route.
300 miles to the North of the Kerguelens, a missile is scudding across the ocean. After leaving Cape Town and pledging that they would be sparing the gear, Team Adventure was measured at more than 34 knots instantaneous speed! The ridge of high pressure they are aiming for will force them to sail on a beam reach, at high speed with fountains of spray. With icy air and water straight off the Antarctic, Team Adventure and her crew are having a much more rugged crossing of the Southern Ocean than the leaders had, already a week ago.
Ranking (02/02/01 15:00:00)
Name Speed DTF DTL
1 Club MEd 20.0 11266.9 0
2 Innovation Explorer 14.0 11803.1 536.2
3 TeamAdventure 24.2 15506.4 4239.5
4 Warta Polpharma 14.4 16181.8 4914.9
5 Team Legato 23.0 17453.6 6186.7