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26 February 2001, 04:12 pm
Club Med maintains 600 miles lead
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Innovation Explorer has managed to stay above 10 knots despite a lack of wind, and is for now doing a good job of extricating herself from a tricky situation.
She'll have to wait until 7° North, however, before getting any decent wind. Meanwhile, Club Med is about to wander into a no entry zone. But Grant will doubtless make an agile circumvention of the high pressure blob via the west, seeing as he's already on the ideal longitude to pull it off. The right time, the right place, we're beginning to get used to Kiwi navigator, Mike Quilter's, penchant for this kind of micrometered transit.

Loïck is only 689.8 miles from Club Med's transoms but the blue cat's crew is hard to snare! They get into position, they calculate, they keep their distance . . . even if the speed is there, the leader seems to act like a magnet, where similar poles repel. Innovation Explorer trots along forever behind, but the statistics since the start of the race show that there's a minute difference (a few tenths) in average speed between the two leaders. However, even though Loïck has succeeded in making a huge comeback (only three days ago there were 1,200 miles between the two boats), it seems that Grant refuses to let him get any closer than 600 miles. Does Roger Nilson have a secret weapon to unleash at the last minute? If so, we'll soon find out, because tomorrow, The Race will enter its last week (for the boats in front).

Far away, deep in another hemisphere, and colder, they're still struggling in a chaotic sea. Team Adventure has notched up a lead of more than 50 miles over Warta-Polpharma, who gybed again and is on a course parallel to that of her adversary. They're charging due east with a strong and steady following wind from the west while their speeds indicate that they're dealing with a difficult seaway, without which their speedometers would climb higher yet. They're impressive nevertheless, especially that of Roman who posted a 25-knot instantaneous speed (against 22 for Cam). We reckon that Warta-Polpharma is on the scent of third place. In back, Tony, sailing at about 15 knots this morning against a solid 20 at 11.00 pm GMT, appears to have slowed down. This is no time to lose ground, when there's the threat of having to juggle first with a soft patch and then winds on the nose in three days time.


Ranking (25/02/01 07:00:00)

Name Speed DTF DTL
1 Club Med 12.0 2483.2 0
2 Innovation Explorer 10.4 3173.0 689.8
3 TeamAdventure 24.1 8651.8 6168.7
4 Warta Polpharma 10.4 8717.0 6233.9
5 Team Legato 14.0 10423.8 7940.7
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