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7 January 2003, 10:14 am
Flying Towards New Zealand!
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© Billy Black

Around Alone - Leg Three
Cape Town (RSA) - Tauranga (NZL)

It's a case of the rich getting richer as the first two yachts make their way up the Tasman. Aboard the leading Class 1 boat <I>Bobst Group Armor lux,</I> Bernard Stamm seems to have an almost uncanny sense of the weather.

It may be luck, but I would rather think it's good instincts, but Stamm seems to always place himself in the right place at the right time. He is literally flying towards the north of New Zealand and has given his latest ETA of 0600 local time on Thursday 9 January.

Further back there is an interesting situation developing between local favorite Graham Dalton on Hexagon and Simone Bianchetti on Tiscali. Dalton has doggedly held onto his third place since Cape Town and Bianchetti has not shown any signs of taking it away from him. Until now. During the day on Monday Dalton began to feel the effects of high pressure and gybed away to get more wind. He sailed to the east, but because of the local conditions he was only able to sail south of east. During the night he gybed back to sail north once more. The gybe does not seem to have hurt him much; Tiscali gained a few miles, but the two boats have separated. The Italian yacht is to the north and west of the New Zealand yacht.

In Class 2 Brad van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is silently eating up the miles. With the excitement in Class 1 dominating the news, Brad's progress has gone relatively unnoticed, but he has set a scorching pace matching that of Stamm mile for mile. On January 1 at 0600 he was 1254.8 miles behind Bernard (based on distance to finish). On January 6 at 0600 he was 1253.5 miles behind. He actually gained 1.3 miles. While this does not have any actual relevance it's interesting to see just how fast van Liew is sailing. The boat is in excellent shape, a testament to his great shore team, but Brad has also sailed a smart and deliberate leg. He will soon be the first Class 2 boat to enter the Tasman. While van Liew is enjoying the fine sailing, his closest rival Tim Kent on Everest Horizontal was having a bad day at the office. "I have blown an autopilot, a headsail and the exhaust manifold gasket on the engine. Not a good day at all," he wrote without elaborating.

Brian Hancock/ISAF Secretariat
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