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28 November 2002, 02:22 pm
Cape Town Makes Big Gains
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Life on Liverpool

Clipper 2002 Round the World Race
Cascais (POR) - Havana (CUB)

On a day that has seen mileage gains throughout the fleet, the highest run has come from last placed Cape Town. This improving performance will be a great boost to Roger Steven-Jennings and his crew.

Now only thirty miles behind they will have Glasgow firmly in their sights. After yesterday's tactics proved less successful for Rupert Parkhouse and the Glasgow crew, they too are now tracking more to the north in the hope of reeling in Liverpool once more. The Cape Town crew should gain some satisfaction from the fact that Liverpool created a 20 mile lead on Glasgow in just over 24hours, so with over a week still to go anything could happen.

Another factor that seems to be affecting the fleet is a change in the wind pattern as they head to the west. The race office weather forecast this morning shows an initial decrease in the wind strength and it would seem that this is already being felt by the leading boats. Certainly New York's average speed over the last 24 hours has been almost 2 knots less than that of Cape Town. Although no doubt not what Sam Fuller and her crew exactly had on order, from an unbiased observers point of view the more the fleet compresses, the more interesting the outcome as the leading boats slow down and the trailing ones catch up. They should make the most of it though as Race Officer Jon Hilsden predicts that this change will eventually work in New York's favour.

However things turn out, it currently does not seem to pay to be in the south. Ed Green and the crew aboard Jersey report a mere 12 knots of wind from the east. They are flying their light weight spinnaker in an attempt to catch as much wind as possible but are finding that in the swell it is getting rather "flopsy whopsy". The problem with sailing down wind in light winds is that the more speed the boat picks up, the less apparent wind it feels, and so it slows down again. If a boat had 10 knots of true wind (i.e. the actual wind blowing) behind it, with every knot of boat speed they would loose a knot of apparent wind (the wind they feel on board). Taken to extremes if the boat sailed at 10 knots the apparent wind would be zero. This is obviously impossible, so they are left to wallow, probably at about 3 knots with 7 knots of apparent wind. As the boat increases speed slightly, say due to being pushed by a wave, the apparent wind will suddenly decrease and the spinnaker will collapse. The trimmer will then struggle make it fly again. As had been said before, spinnakers are often referred to as "kites" and anyone who has tried unsuccessfully to fly a kite when there is not enough wind will have a pretty good appreciation of the frustration the Jersey crew will currently be experiencing.

Richard Butler and the crew of Bristol continue to make good progress to the west, but have slowed in the decreasing wind, allowing small gains to be made by London and Hong Kong. Crucially they are now also well to the north so it will be interesting to see if they pick up any advantage from this over the next few days.

Positions at 0440 GMT, 28/11/02

Position Boat Lat Long DTF DTL 24hr run
1 New York 21 11 N 57 09 W 1420.49 0 178.87
2 Bristol 18 05 N 55 20 W 1555.25 134.76 195.28
3 London 20 06 N 53 51 W 1612.82 192.34 205.28
4 Hong Kong 20 37 N 52 25 W 1687.96 267.47 203.84
5 Jersey 16 45 N 52 01 W 1759.63 339.14 192.52
6 Liverpool 18 26 N 51 19 W 1772.78 352.29 213.27
7 Glasgow 18 10 N 51 03 W 1791.19 370.7 205.15
8 Cape Town 18 45 N 50 23 W 1820.54 400.06 219.09
Tim Hedges/ISAF News Editor
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