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14 May 2002, 10:44 am
Charging Down The Portuguese Coastline
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Sill Plein Fruit

Regatta de Rubicon

Sill Plein Fruit & Tiscali Global Challenge continue to play cat and mouse with the leaderboard, whilst Bobst Group-Amor Lux heads west.
Bernard Stamm has taken the bull by the horns and veered deep West, leaving the side of his companions Tiscali Global Challenge (Bianchetti), Sill Plein Fruit (Jourdain) and Kingfisher (MacArthur), who are charging down the Portugese coastline to the East of the direct route. Calmer weather has superseded yesterday's rough conditions, and whilst the crew of the other 6 Open 60's are working the effects of the land breezes just 27 miles off the coastline, they will be keeping a close eye on Stamm's radical option way out West. One thing is for sure: the triumvirate leading the Regata Rubicon have succeeded in separating themselves by 41 miles from fourth placed boat Temenos (Wavre).

Sill Plein Fruit & Tiscali Global Challenge continue to play cat and mouse with the leaderboard, and the former has taken a negligible advantage this morning of 0.2 miles in the last two hours.

Reactions from the skippers this morning on the radio included Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher) who had just tacked 7 miles from the coastline: "I think Bernard is trying to pass the dorsal over to the West. We'll see if it pays." Laurent Cordelle (Tiscali) commented: "Bobst Group has taken a sharp turn to the right, an interesting option to follow but we're not any longer in the same playing field. As for us, this is like a match race for three, we're all constantly on manoeuvres to get the maximum out of every puff of air. The conditions will continue to ease and so our nerves will be put to the test soon as I think the next stage will be like a long spell in purgatory! We are at least able to have some kind of control over the fleet in our current position."

he fleet could very well group together again with the leading boats falling into lighter airs and speeds dropping to 6 knots, whilst the back markers such as Temenos (Wavre) & Virbac (Dick) are still clocking speeds of around 9 knots and closing in. Now it is crucial to get every spare knot out of the boat and keep a close watch on the positions every two hours, as Gael Le Cleac'h (Sill) put it in a short message over night: "Long live one-design racing!"
Mary Ambler/ISAF Secretariat
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