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3 July 2001, 04:48 pm
Halfway stage of Gotland Runt
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Round Gotland Race

The virtual disappearance of the wind behind the passing frontal trough has brought with it summery conditions and around the island of Gotland there was slow progress by the seven V.O.60s in the Accenture Gotland Runt.
The wind veered overnight from south, through south-west and by noon was north-west. During this period of change, the boats have headed south-south-west to the bottom of Gotland, and then west to north-west in their way to the Knolls Grund buoy, the westernmost turning mark, 20 miles west of Visby on the island of Gotland. It has kept them almost perpetually hard on the wind.

Down the East Coast of Gotland, 'Gurra' Krantz in SEB led at Faro, but admitted making an almost fatal mistake by being too far to the east at Oestergarn, halfway down the island. Knut Frostad in Djuice Dragons, stayed closer to the shore and benefitted from the slightly stronger breeze. Djuice Dragons moved into the lead, but at Faludden, where the coast begins to bend towards the west, SEB began to claw back the deficit.

At Hoburgen, the southernmost point of Gotland, SEB was back in front, but only by one minute. In front of them were only three 60 foot trimarans and the 100 foot Cap Gemini and the two 80 footers, Morning Glory and Nicorette.

One of the others to benefit from an inshore course was Semcon R&D/Assa Abloy, skippered by Roy Heiner. From the boat, Anders Carlberg reported, 'We were not doing too good when we passed Fårö, the northern point of Gotland last night.' At that time they had only Nokia behind them and the other five V.O.60's ahead. All the boats adopted different tactics and Carlsberg said, "We found the best winds close to the island and we passed Avant, Atea and SEB 3. Now, we only have the two new V.O.60s, SEB and Djuice, approximately nine nautical miles ahead of us".

But at Hoburgen, Håkan Prising's Avant was reported passing four minutes ahead of Semcon R&D/Assa Abloy as they began to head offshore towards the buoy at Knolls Grund. A course inshore was providing slightly more breeze for Djuice Dragons, twenty miles after passing Hoburgen, near the Karlso Islands. 'We can see them gaining bearing on us to leeward,' said Krantz from SEB, 'but sometime they have to leave the shore to go to Knolls Grund.'

Later, approaching Knolls Grund in a six knot north-westerly breeze, Krantz said, "We are still ahead of the pink boat, they are a mile and a half abeam to leeward". Krantz indicated that so far in the race, SEB had always been moving. "We haven't stopped," he said, adding with a degree of regret and certainty from experience, "There will be a park before the finish, somewhere".

That somewhere seems likely to be after the run into the turning mark off Visby, where SEB expected to be in the evening. "It's a fluky breeze we have out here," commented Krantz, "but it hasn't died away totally yet".
Volvo Ocean Press&News Editor
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