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23 January 2001, 01:56 pm
MacArthur Closes In
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With under 5000 miles to the finish, the distance separating the two leaders, Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB) & Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher), has decreased to 70 miles.
With under 5000 miles to the finish, the distance separating the two leaders, Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB) & Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher), has decreased to 70 miles. Michel Desjoyeaux, slowed up for a week now, has to cross another, even weaker zone of light airs ahead and he's going to feel it in his boat speed. He has been clocking around 6.5 knots, nearly 3 knots slower than Ellen, who is becoming quite a real threat.

The logical chain of events should in theory have it that the leader, slowed first by the high pressure centre, is also the first to pick up the pace again on the other side, and his pursuers all have to undergo the same process. In reality Desjoyeaux has not made it through, and alone he has been paying the price heavily. However, slowly but surely, as the others creep into more similar weather conditions as him, the boat speeds will eventually equalise. But for now, the leader is in the worst of it still, and his rivals are hunting him down.

Desjoyeaux takes this bad luck on the chin and retains his sense of humour - if sounding a little more nervous than before.
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