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5 February 2001, 10:54 am
ClubMed Pulls Away
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It needed close on 200 miles for Club Med to get herself completely free from the detrimental influence of the mountains of New Zealand. For a long time "parked" in the shadow of the large and high South Island, the big catamaran slowly inched her way...
Eventually the wind picked up from the WNW, gradually increasing to 20 knots. The descent down South is finally getting up to speed again, still with a following wind, towards a splendid "motorway" stretching away 150 miles ahead of Club Med's bows. Once well placed on this launching pad, Grant Dalton's boys will be renewing their experience with the exhilarating speeds and wild surfs of the South Pacific.

Indeed, thanks to the "concertina effect", it is now Innovation Explorer's turn, briefly slowed down in her approach to the Cook Straits, to see the gap widen again to her detriment. And yet, as the ever lucid Dalton pointed out, the edge of the depression that has picked up Club MEd should move further enough up North to help the Peyron boy's exit the Cook Straits. Skip Novak's forecast even announces a North-west front ideal for dashing through the famous straits, foot on the floor.

Wellington is now no more than a few hours away. After the snowy peak of Mount Cook, the men aboard Innovation Explorer who have not seen a living soul since Gibraltar and Tarifa, are getting set to receive the warm welcome of the Kiwis, after the passage yesterday of Grant Dalton, the local boy, which caused a sensation throughout this entire group of islands. The pressure is on Loick.

Team Adventure is pursuing her North-easterly heading today. Which means she is on a point of sailing more favourable to speed. She was "clocked" at more than 30 knots and is still reeling in daily runs of 500/550 miles! Indeed the huge depression centred around 45° South and 95° East justifies this path. Jean-Yves Bernot, the navigator on board, is trying to keep the catamaran on the Northern edge of this depression in an ideal flow of wind blowing at more than 30 knots from the West. On an opposing point of sailing and an opposing heading, Warta-Polpharma is continuing her slow descent to the West of the Kerguelens.. The anticyclone is well and truly there. The Poles are having to work hard on deck and are sailing in a particularly complex system. Will this long tack South pay off? And if so, when?

The scenario is totally different for Tony Bullimore. His Team Legato is well settled in a force 6 Westerly flow and is making the most of a nice long swell, also from the West, to fly along at a good 20 knots. Why not more? "The boat is perfectly well balanced in these conditions" replied Tony, "with two reefs in the main and the gennaker, we are not pushing the machine too hard and we are notching up some nice days. We hope that we'll soon be breaking the 500 miles a day barrier!"

Ranking (03/02/01 15:00:00)

Name Speed DTF DTL
1 Club MEd 19.0 10960.6 0
2 Innovation Explorer 18.3 11437.3 476.6
3 TeamAdventure 20.1 15163.0 4202.4
4 Warta Polpharma 12.2 15866.2 4905.6
5 Team Legato 20.2 17132.2 6171.6
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