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1 June 2005, 03:18 pm
The Calm Before The Storm
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

'According to our weather information,' writes crew-member Alex ALLEY onboard Team Stelmar this morning, 'we are about to be hit by a rather large depression, with high winds expected (possibly as high as 40 knots, much more like it!). Although looking outside it seems hard to believe. It all feels rather surreal, a bit like waiting to be run over by a freight train.'
It is understandable, considering the reports from the yachts, that ALLEY finds it difficult to envisage 40 knots of breeze in the current conditions. 'The boat is suffering and we are as well,' says Barclays Adventurer's Laurent PELLERIN, 'these movements are not natural, like a car struggling to start on a cold morning.'

BP Explorer's John BASS goes on to comment that the incredibly light conditions are playing such havoc with the leaderboard, that positions in the densely packed group placed third to eighth are really just academic until conditions become more reliable.

'In a 24 hour period our position will go from third to eighth to fifth with no indication of where we will end up as we get the next reports,' BASS writes. 'It's all so random. It has reached a stage where I for one pretty much ignore them. Once the wind picks up and there is once again an equal playing field, then can we analyse how we are doing in the race.'

BG SPIRIT extended their lead through the night to 200 miles over second place VAIO - now 70 miles ahead of nearest rival SAIC La Jolla. Eero LEHTINEN (FIN) and his team moved back up the leaderboard to take third place this morning and Barclays Adventurer also moved from eighth to fourth place.

Despite yet another day spent wallowing in light conditions yesterday, speeds across the fleet are already picking up as a new weather system approaches. VAIO reported the best six hour speed of 9.1 knots, with the mid-fleet pack averaging around six knots.

Looking ahead, weather predictions indicate that there is some severe low pressure activity ahead bringing with it very strong winds, which the fleet will encounter during the next 24 hours.

However, although stronger winds will help to speed the fleet on their way to Boston, it is not clear how long they will last. So for the moment, it is time for the teams to batten down the hatches and see what the weather holds.

Dan Wedgewood (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Prepping the kite on Imagine It. Done.: © Challenge Business
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