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24 June 2005, 02:02 pm
SAIC La Jolla's Southerly Stance Pays Off
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

SAIC La Jolla's position south of the rhumb line has paid off as they moved from eighth place yesterday afternoon to claim the top spot overnight.
With the rest of the fleet lying around 60 miles to the north, Eero LEHTINEN (FIN) and his team have made the most of a fresher breeze which has propelled them into the top spot - now holding a 37 mile lead over the chasing pack.

'What a rollercoaster and winds all over the place,' reports skipper LEHTINEN. 'Had some good rides in one of the eddies last night, but as wind went light, there was some big swell from somewhere and the eddie twisted to a more southerly direction, a real madhouse was ready. A miracle we didn't shred our kite when sailing out of it.'

'Now looking for a route between bad and good eddies...hoping to have more wind than the fleet further north and closer to the centre of the mild low. Seems like fast kite runs ahead if we still can trust any of this least not a boring moment out here... about 100 spinnaker changes by now! What used to take ten plus minutes on the first leg happens now in 60 seconds!'

After six days of racing, there are still only 13 miles separating the rest of the fleet in terms of distance to finish. 'Well if company was what we wanted on this penultimate leg then company is what we've got,' writes BP Explorer crewmember John BASS. 'Most of the fleet are within a couple of miles of each other and only SAIC La Jolla have separated from the pack to head south.'

Team Stelmar have put in an impressive performance overnight and moved up from fifth place to claim second place.

Meanwhile VAIO and BG SPIRIT are neck and neck in third place. With the north westerly breeze likely to increase, the teams can look forward to some fast downwind over the next 24 hours.

Event Media. Image, SAIC La Jolla with their race kite up:© Challenge Business
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