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28 June 2007, 03:12 pm
In Frosty Nights Halfway To Hamburg
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HSH Nordbank Blue Race 2007

The Atlantic turns a cold shoulder on the yachts at the top of the fleet, and frosty temperatures await the crews sailing further north. The main fleet of the HSH Nordbank blue race has already sailed halfway, and they have now set course for home.
Whereas the leading Outsider of Tilmar HANSEN (GBR) is busy estimating their arrival time for Saturday or Sunday, the main part of the fleet is happy to have come halfway. The Irish Chieftain has lost a bit of ground to HANSEN's Elliott 52, but her crew is ready to fight. 'We are watching the clouds and weather and working on getting every inch of boat speed we can out of the Chieftain. Within the boat moral is still high, although this may be due to the amount of coffee being drunk rather than internal moral! We're slightly gutted that we have lost out miles to Outsider but the race is far from over!' writes watch captain Ed HILL (GBR) from on board the Cookson 50. While the, in great parts British crew has sailed past their home isles, the main part of the HSH Nordbank blue race fleet has now come halfway home.

The crews report on fog, rain and water creeping everywhere, but the Varuna crew of Hamburg's skipper Jens KELLINGHUSEN (GER) writes, 'After some 40 hours sailing through fog, the sight has improved a lot this afternoon. But we pay a price for this: It has started to rain. We are now waiting for a cold front to pass through with a fairly clear shift to the right.' The boats are now leaving the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and getting acquainted with the fresher temperatures of the North Atlantic.

Cold Weather Ahead

'The northern most yachts will be the first to put on their gloves,' predicts weather expert Meeno SCHRADER (GER) from Kiel. 'The sharp northwesterly which the first yachts will sail in will bring down the felt temperatures dramatically to minus two degrees Celsius. It looks like it will be much less fun now,' explains SCHRADER. The Outsider crew reports, 'It's cold. We are close to Fair Isle off the coast of Scotland. Conditions are rough, and sailing this boat feels like breaking in a horse not used to its saddle yet. The waves of the Atlantic are relentlessly beating against our bow, with water gushing above deck and crew. What was only wet and uncomfortable in the Gulf Stream, is now also freezing cold.'

Meanwhile, the Parsifal III, with her 54 metres the biggest yacht of the fleet tries to catch up with the tail end of the fleet sailing towards Point Alpha, which the fastest yacht Rambler has rounded last night. The 90-foot racer of American owner George DAVID is being sailed by a professional crew led by skipper Ken READ (USA) and can show a top speed of more than 30 knots. Bon Bon, the third boat of the second group of the race is hard on her heels, but it is unlikely that any of these three boats will catch up with the fastest boats of the first start.

Mareike Guhr (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Parsifal III:© Nico Kraus/HSH Nordbank
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