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3 June 2005, 12:06 pm
VAIO and SAIC La Jolla Under Threat
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

'Currently the pain is almost unbearable' writes VAIO crew member Ben BEASLEY this morning. 'For the last eight-ish hours we have been going nowhere, the situation made somewhat worse by being less than 400 miles from Boston,USA'

'The growing excitement of Boston is on hold and skipper and crew are suffering as one, all cursing the large high-pressure system sitting between Boston and us.'

First BG SPIRIT ground to a halt yesterday afternoon, and now it is VAIO's turn to suffer. Recording a painful average speed of 0.9 knots over the past six hours as they negotiate yet another patch of light winds.

This turn of events has allowed third place Barclays Adventurer to make good ground on Amedeo SORRENTINO (ITA) and his team, now only ten miles behind. However, though close in terms of distance to finish, the two teams are in significantly different weather at the moment, so if Stuart JACKSON (GBR) plays his cards right, he could well be in second place by this afternoon's poll.

Meanwhile, SAIC La Jolla could also find their fourth place position under threat. The team have paid a price for taking a more westerly course (like VAIO) and are currently only making a meagre 4.8 knots, compared to BP Explorer's 8.2 knots. Since yesterday afternoon, David MELVILLE (GBR) and his team have reduced the 40 mile gap to just around three miles and again could oust SAIC La Jolla from fourth place imminently if they maintain this progress.

However, close on BP Explorer's tail is Imagine It. Done, with a team determined to do everything they can to keep up the pressure, as skipper Dee CAFFARI (GBR) reports: 'This may be the last obvious opportunity for a reshuffle of the fleet before we follow BG SPIRIT to the quay in Boston.

'After these lighter airs, the breeze is due to fill in and we shall see a sprint for those that can maintain the fastest boat speed and not make any mistakes.

'First we have a job to do and that is to try and make the life of BP Explorer, Spirit of Sark and Team Stelmar a fraction as miserable as ours was on arrival to Cape Town.'

Me To You, Samsung, Team Save the Children and Pindar have made significant gains on the leaders, clawing back from 50 to 70 miles each, having all maintained consistently strong boat speeds through the night. If the majority do park up again, as some are predicting, this could be the opportunity these teams need to make their mark on leaderboard standings.

Kate Hayler. Image, SAIC La Jolla looking for some wind:© Challenge Business
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