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4 November 2002, 02:39 pm
Cascais Looms
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Clipper 2002 Round the World Yacht Race
Liverpool (GBR) - Cascais (POR)

The days of beating through Biscay in a gale are now well behind the Clipper fleet. The name of the game now is down wind sailing in a light breeze in a swell that knocks the wind out of the spinnakers and the mainsails.

For all the banging and crashing of the rig and sails the results seem disproportional to the efforts put in but every little bit counts. Barely 3 miles separate Jersey, Hong Kong and London who are all fighting for second place; even the tiniest of slips will let Bristol and Glasgow through.

New York is still hanging on to the lead with a buffer of just over 10 miles. Sam Fuller has eased more back to the east to try and cover London and Jersey and take up the middle course to the finish. A sound tactic but the three chasing boats are spread over an arc of 35 miles and either Hong Kong on the west, or Jersey on the east, could pick up more breeze and eat up her fragile lead. As Richard Butler in Bristol will remember to his cost, leading the fleet is a lovely position to be in, but those chasing will be coming at you from every side and when conditions are as fickle as this the finishing line starts to look a long way away.

Bristol and Glasgow have put their money on getting more breeze to the west and have fallen in behind Hong Kong. If Justin Taylor in Hong Kong is able to get through he will be looking back at his brave tack north of Finisterre two days ago when he decided to take the knocks on the leader board by tacking early and anticipating the wind shift.

Liverpool is sailing down inshore having dropped their injured crewmember, Vicky Margerrison, off at Bayona. Vicky had a full check up and is now safely in Cascais waiting to take Liverpool's lines.

Cape Town has also hit the light winds and because of her more northerly position has slowed down earlier than the others making the gap artificially large. They can take some comfort in that the Clipper scoring is done on a race postion basis and not an elapsed time calculation. The Clipper races have always been run on this system and interestingly the other major races have changed to this method. There will be other occasions when different boats have delays and a cumulative time system would be most unsatisfactory as such a penalty would blight their chances in the subsequent races.

Roger Steven-Jennings will be wanting the wind to fill in from the north but the weather charts show little encouragement for any dramatic change. The high gets bigger and if anything splits into two highs, promising precious little wind over the next few days.

As long as the boats can keep up their slow progress they should be in early Tuesday morning. If the wind does pick up this could be before dawn but my money is for a slow run to the finish. Whenever they do finally arrive, Cascais will be ready for them. This is a delightful town and the facilities in the new marina are superb.

Positions at 0400, 04/11/02

Position Yacht Lat Long DTF DTL 24 Hour
1 New York 40 50 N 10 08 W 133.08 0 123.28
2 Jersey 41 03 N 09 44 W 142.57 9.49 135.51
3 Hong Kong 40 56 N 10 25 W 142.61 9.53 157.63
4 London 41 04 N 10 08 W 145.98 12.9 136.52
5 Bristol 41 09 N 10 21 W 154.04 20.96 158.08
6 Glasgow 41 14 N 10 26 W 159.93 26.84 146.69
7 Cape Town 42 41 N 9 30 W 239.4 106.32 109.73
8 Liverpool 41 32 N 8 59 W 171.38 38.29 108.82
Colin de Mowbray
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