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20 October 2005, 11:08 am
Lead Changes Once Again
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Round Britain And Ireland Challenge 2005

In some respects it is a little hard to tell what is going on with the Round Britain And Ireland Challenge this morning - every report seems to contradict something else that has come in to the race office. However, it is certain that the fleet have experienced a change of winds, and that, having split overnight, the two westerly yachts, Pindar and Samsung, have lost the wind this morning, although they have recorded significantly better 24 hour runs.

Pindar's skipper Marcus CHOLERTON has reported on the reasoning behind their navigational choice to the west, 'Experimented a lot with different sail combos until we found the best for the angle of wind. Averaged over nine knots between Alpha and Beta and aimed off the direct track to St. Kilda on rounding beta so that we could crack off and hoist flanker when the wind decreased, which we did to great effect. Still chasing the fleet to make up the ground we lost approaching Alpha but constantly narrowing the gap.'

Will OTTON, skipper of Samsung, filed his report a little later this morning, and it is less optimistic reading, 'Seem to have hit a significant wind hole, along with Pindar. We are stationary while the rest of the fleet report breeze 30 miles east'.

The weather on the race viewer shows that there is a depression centred over the fleet, and this has emphasized the differences in position, leading to a huge change from front to back - from four miles to 41 in 24 hours.

Samsung reports that they are hard on the wind, flying full main and their genoa headsail. Spirit of Sark, in comparison, says they have full main and flanker in 16 knots of breeze.

Spirit of Sark appears to have worked hard for their slim four mile lead, only filing a very short log today. Mate Stephen DURKIN says, 'It has been very hard on the crew of Sprit of Sark with cold and wet weather and the need for relentless sail changes leading them all to become very tired.' He also says that tactically, they have decided to stick as close to the rhumb line as possible - taking the shortest possible route between St. Kilda and the infamous Muckle Flugga.

Me to You's tactical report is just in stating, 'Staying south paid off last night when we tacked on the wind shift. Samsung and Pindar look to have got on the wrong side or too close to the centre of the low and should now be beating. The wind is southerly at the moment and the plan is to stay on the wind for our next waypoint and ease sheets as the wind continues to veer.'

Martin WILD from SAIC has called in to race headquarters on the satellite phone and has reported that SAIC and Me to You are currently less than a mile apart, and the can see Spirit of Sark ahead of them, so the racing is close in this group despite having covered over 800 nautical miles.

Everyone on shore will be waiting with bated breath for the next poll at 1600 BST to see what the day has brought.

Kerry Dye. Image, Spirit of Sark working together:© Challenge Business
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