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9 February 2005, 10:44 am
Match Racing in the Indian Ocean
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Oryx Quest 2005

Geronimo and Doha 2006 seem joined at the hip as they race south skirting the edge of a persistent high pressure system. At the most recent poll this morning less than a mile separated the two boats with Doha 2006 having regained the lead from Geronimo.
It's been a match race for the last 36 hours with the lead swapping numerous times. Neither crew is prepared to give a quarter as first Geronimo throws in a loose cover over Doha 2006, then after Doha 2006 manages to slip by, they throw in a loose cover on Geronimo as both boats look for fresher wind south of the high.

It has been frustrating sailing for all the boats as the high pressure ridge that positioned itself directly in the way of the fleet has been offering up tricky sailing conditions. The wind is light and the sun blazing down; perfect for the beach, but not great for sailboat racing. On board Geronimo Olivier de KERSAUSON is taking the close racing in stride. "The conditions over the last 500 miles have been unpredictable," he wrote. "So if you wanted to build a collosal lead you would have had to take a radical option, but of course that could easily end up in a colossal lead for someone else. With the weather system like this, the sitation can change dramatically within 20 miles. It's risy but it shakes out fairly in the end."

Despite the lack of solid wind, the crew on Doha 2006 have been enjoying spectacular sunrises and sunsets as Paul LARSEN described in his log. "The sunset last night was a magic moment which included the legendary 'green flash'," he wrote. "The sea was so calm that it reflected the sky perfectly and in places you could no longer see where the two merged. I have always been a big fan of full moon sailing and still will be, but you can't beat the stars of a moonless night."

The easy sailing has allowed the crews to settle into their routines without much fuss. On board Doha 2006 Sharon FERRIS is enjoying life with her crew mates. "We are starting to get into a rhythm sleeping four hours of a twelve hour time period," she wrote. "I am with watch captain Thomas COVILLE and Jonny MALBON, both are great guys and we are having fun. We are also getting used to the freeze dried food which is not too bad."

Further back, Tony BULLIMORE on Daedalus also had his mind on food. "Nick BUBB is on for the cooking today," he wrote. "We have a galley roster and each of the crew, including myself, is responsible for the cooking. We are not sure what Nick will turn out. If he can't cook, it will be freeze dried food and if he can, with the fresh bits left in the galley, he may come up with something interesting."

By early afternoon on Wednesday the leaders should be free of the High and into the trade winds. The first boat to pick up the new wind will have an advantage as they tighten the sheets and romp south toward the equator.

Brian Hancock, Image: © Event Media
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