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24 May 2005, 09:42 am
Calm Before The Storm
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Rolex Transatlantic Challenge 2005

Almost 24 hours into the Rolex Transatlantic Race, the leaders in the Grand Prix class have found breeze while those astern continue to wallow in light air, making five knots or less.
The fight in the Grand Prix class is seeing Robert MILLER's (HKG/USA) Mari-Cha IV jockeying for position with Charles BROWN and Bill BUCKLEY's New Zealand yacht Maximus. Both have taken the most southeasterly route to get out into the Gulf Stream and line themselves up to make the best of the weather ahead. Joe DOCKERY's (USA) smaller Carrera has been taking a more easterly route, closer to the great circle, which is the shortest course. As a result, at 1200 hours GMT today, the latest positions showed Carrera having moved into the lead. She was 969 miles from Point Alpha, the waypoint off southeast Newfoundland, compared to 992 for Mari-Cha IV and 997 for Maximus.

Of concern for the crews at the moment is the weather ahead. 'The main storm system will be coming off the Virginia coast this afternoon, and that will turn into a major gale,' says Ken CAMPBELL of Commanders Weather. The message from CAMPBELL is that the yachts should head south. 'It is going to be a very rough two days for the fleet.'

At present, Mike SLADE's (GBR) Leopard of London is leading the Performance Cruising class 1, while the smallest boat in the fleet, the Swan 70 Stay Calm, is leading Performance Cruising class 2. Among the classics, A. Robert TOWBIN's (USA) Sumurun is holding a six mile lead over the Storm Trysail Club-chartered clipper ship Stad Amsterdam.

100 years ago:

Aboard the schooner Atlantic, Frederick HOYT wrote:

'After sunrise we kept looking up all the time and by 8am were heading east by standard compass of N 80deg E true and with large jibtopsail and two staysails on we were doing between 11-12 knots. At 1000 a schooner was made out on the leebeam which later proved to be Hamburg, and when at noon she bore two points abaft the beam the faces of the watch on deck wore an expression of delight. The gods were good to us, for at noon, the sun broke through long enough for us to get a latitude sight. Although it did not clear entirely, the sun would show himself once in a while and give us an afternoon sight much to our relief.'

Barby MacGowan. Image, Carrera, Maximus and Mari-Cha at the start:© Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex
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