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28 March 2001, 10:55 am
A Race At Last?
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Team Legato

The Race

Team Legato has extended her lead overnight but now Warta Polpharma is closing again.
With both crews now slugging it out to windward against the NE Trades, the name of the game on Team Legato and Warta Polpharma is to point as high as possible without losing too much speed.

At 07:00 Wednesday, the two crews were closely matched in terms of speed, but Warta Polpharma was heading 22 degrees higher. This is now helping the Poles to eat into Team Legato's lead which had extended to 170 miles at one point yesterday. Now it is down to 160 miles and will continue to close as long as Warta Polpharma can maintain the better heading.

It is all to do with velocity made good (VMG). For much of the past 24 hours, Tony Bullimore and his crew had been pointing higher than the Poles and at 03:00 today, had been 33 miles closer to the Marseilles finish line than they were yesterday, despite sailing 18 less miles than their Polish rivals. Now the situation is reversed.

"It's very close." Said Tony Bullimore. "I suspect that the Poles are enjoying a move favourable wind angle which is helping them to point higher. We are getting the best we can out of Team Legato in terms of velocity made good. We could speed up by heading off a few degrees but that would take our heading further away from Gibraltar. At the moment we are sailing on ouroptimum course."
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