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16 July 2001, 10:55 am
Reports From Onboard Kingfisher
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EDS Atlantic Challenge

On Saturday the boats taking part in the EDS Atlantic Challenge set off on the third leg from Portsmouth, Great Britain on their way to Baltimore, USA.
Currently Kingfisher has a narrow lead on Leg Two winner Sill Plein Fruit. Most of the boats have opted to take the northern route towards the USA, with expected much stronger winds. Only Alpha Graphics has gone south.

Sunrise Report Day Two.

"I know its boring to always talk about sunrises, and its something Ellen always gets a hard time about, but this mornings was another cracker!

Even better because we're hanging on to a slender lead. SILL who has made a great comeback from whatever her woes were at the start, is about half a mile off our starboard quarter and we are holding him on height and speed, and ECOVER is dead astern by about 2 miles. we can also see GARTMORE off to the south...is she heading for the southern sunshine route??

Pretty uneventful night of upwind sailing, but we were headed by the wind so no longer sailing the direct route. Wind now filling in again, and Ellen is working away on the meteo options which as ever are complex and could be race decisive of course. The low that is rushing towards the UK looks big and ugly, which 55 knots of wind packed in it somewhere. Lets hope we don't go to somewhereland.

'Hendo' our latest recruit for this leg, who until 3 days ago was happily windsurfing off the beaches of France, has settled in well. Unfortunately he mentioned the animal with long ears last night...a word, if you are superstitious, that must not be said at sea...so to negate it he had to go
the mast and scratch it...which he did without argument!

I think we are all happy to be back out here, short stopovers are maybe more stress than they are worth..."

Sunrise Report Day One

"Just a quick note as we make our way past Portland Bill on to this, the longest leg of the race. The start was all rather weird we felt...no-one seemed to be really on the pace, in particular our friends SILL although I guess they had some kind of problem onboard? Still, along with Gartmore we got away ok. 9 tacks later, we ran in to our first problem - the motor that drives the keel hydraulics went up in smoke...these boats were not really designed for all this tacking, you can feel they just want to get to the
open ocean. So, back on our backup keel motor, and suddenly very concerned about the prospect of hand pumping hydraulic fluid each tack for the next 3400 miles, we decided to wind back a bit - unfortunately this meant letting ECOVER sail by us as we left the keel in the middle and changed down to a smaller headsail.

Despite the smoke, the motor did in fact start to work again by the time we left the Solent, so we are sort of on 1 and a half motors out of the usual 2, so for the moment anyway, its not a big problem.

As we reached the Needles, met by our good friend Howard, RNLI coxswain in Yarmouth, the breeze went very light and variable as we were carried through on the tide. Then with Mike G just 300 metres ahead of us, the wind filled in at 20 knots from the North West, and accompanied by a helicopter surfed away from the Isle of Wight with the sun going down. When you are doing 24 knots over the ground, it always brings smiles.

Its now dark, we're settling in to routine, have eaten our only fresh food (great chicken, thanks Daphne and the Posthouse hotel chef!), and have ECOVER just astern of us. We're on the wind, so nothing new there, and the wind is all over the place - currently down at 7 knots as I type.

The forecast once again looks like we are going to get hammered, our pre-leaving update from our weather man suggested up to 55 knots if we take the northern route in the first big depression that will hit on Tuesday. The sunshine route south sounds appealing, but its probably not going to be our chosen tactical option...we'll see."

For up to date boat positions visit the EDS Atlantic Challenge website.


Mark Turner/News Editor
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