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22 June 2007, 11:59 am
Outsider First Yacht To Round Point Alpha
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HSH Nordbank Blue Race 2007

The leading yachts in the HSH Nordbank Blue Race from Newport, USA to Hamburg, Germany have passed the imaginary way mark Point Alpha. The Outsider crew were the first past the mark but were soon followed by the Irish Chieftain.
Both yachts passed the virtual mark at a speed of more than 20 knots, extending their lead to the rest of the HSH Nordbank blue race fleet. This Saturday, the second start will send the maxi yachts off on the 3,600 nautical miles across the Atlantic to catch up with the first group.

Outsider Rushing Home

Outsider seems to be rushing home. The crew of nine are pushing their boat to the limit, and the effort is paying off. Skipper Tilmar HANSEN (GER) left the competitor from Ireland behind and rounded Point Alpha first. Chieftain of skipper Ger O´ROURKE (IRL) had been leading the fleet of 21 yachts sailing the HSH Nordbank blue race for some time, but now the Elliott 52 Outsider took over the top position again.

Since Thursday morning, the clocks have shown UTC time. The Atlantic is still battling with its usual force. High waves, wind between 20 and 30 knots accelerate the boat up to a speed of 20 knots.

'Being on deck is like taking part in a fire-fighting practice. Water all over. Condensation is dripping from the ceiling,' reports Ole SARTORI (GER) from Outsider. Bank von Bremen is leading a group of pursuers, and together with American Snow Lion she is approaching from behind. Heavy weather has been taking its toll on man and material with all crews having to bear the physical strain, constant rolling of the sea, waves crashing onto the deck, and little sleep.

Forecast

Weather expert Meeno SCHRADER forecasts a gradual weather change. 'The low has fully developed, so from now, things will get 'better' again, which means calmer. The stormy gusts will keep up until just about Point Alpha, with thunder gusts possibly reaching 9 to 10 Beaufort. During the course of Friday, the wind will go down to about force 5. Then the speed of the hard gusts will come down from eight to seven and less,' said the meteorologist from the Kiel-based company Wetterwelt.

It will also turn colder. 'Point Alpha will mark the time to say good-bye to America and balmy water temperatures with the Gulf Stream influence becoming weaker from there. Now and again there will be currents, but less often with water and air temperatures falling to 17 to 18 degrees Celsius,' explains SCHRADER.

Mareike Guhr (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Chieftain in action:© 2005 NRV Marketing GmbH
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