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24 April 2007, 09:44 am
Waiting For Wind
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VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007

After four or five days of sailing in head-banging conditions as hard into the wind as possible, leg 3 of the VELUX 5 OCEANS is entering a new tactical phase. The two leaders, Bernard STAMM (SUI) and Kojiro SHIRAISHI (JPN), have been sailing the shortest course possible up to now, holding as north as possible without tacking.
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Progress has been hard in the strong adverse winds and washing-machine seas kicked up by the Gulf Stream.

However, they have now moved into a ridge of high pressure, which for the time being has knocked the wind out of their sails and a frustrated STAMM will be trapped in the light airs he foresaw prior to leaving Norfolk. Forty miles astern of Cheminées-Poujoulat, SHIRAISHI has yet to let STAMM break away or to experience drifting conditions, although the Japanese skipper can already detect a significant change in the weather.

'At the moment we are in very unstable conditions, very changeable winds, both in direction and force,' said STAMM. 'Now I'm making the transition between the northeasterly winds we had before and the new pressure. I've been trying all night to find wind. Progress is very slow at the moment, it's very shifty.'

RJK Gamble

Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON (GBR) is also experiencing calmer conditions and has managed to bail 41 buckets of water from his bow. He will be reassured to know that STAMM and SHIRAISHI share his thinking over getting as north as possible in this first week of leg 3. While the late morning position report revealed that SAGA Insurance had yielded further miles to third-placed Pakea - now almost 200 miles ahead - KNOX-JOHNSTON is sticking to his guns in the belief that his more northerly route will come good when the new westerly winds arrive.

KNOX-JOHNSTON needs to make up a deficit of 2 days and 9 hours on Unai BASURKO (ESP) from their combined times in legs 1 and 2 - so he is gambling that this will pay off for him in the long run. BASURKO has provided KNOX-JOHNSTON the opportunity to make some gains against the Basque skipper if the new wind from further south arrives with SAGA Insurance before it reaches Pakea as the weather models are suggesting.

About The Race

The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the longest race for any individual in any sport. Over the first few days, the fleet will make their way along the northern coast of Spain to Cape Finistère where they will turn south towards the Southern Ocean. However, all of the skippers know that this race is a marathon and not a sprint. During the 30,000 miles sailed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race, the yachts will encounter some of the most extreme sea and weather conditions on the planet.

For a complete list of all the news about the VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007 CLICK HERE.

Tim Kelly (As Amended by ISAF), Image, The fleet tacks out of Hampton Roads Bay at the start of the final leg:© onEdition
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