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27 January 2003, 10:01 am
Just one Fastnet to Go!
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Clipper 2002/2003 Round the World Race
Galapagos - Hawaii

The stage is set for another immensely exciting finish and with only 700 miles to go the debate is on as to the best way to approach the finish.

Glasgow and Hong Kong in the north of the pack have come out on top of the class. These two have been in sight of each other and will be hoping that the front four, who are to the WSW, will start to lose their wind. They have around 100 miles to catch up and although this may seem a tall order the wind will not hold out and, with the effect the islands will have on the positions, nothing, is impossible.

The first four boats are fanned out on a 65 mile front with only 36 miles separating them on a 'Distance to Finish' basis. With just over 700 mile to go they are positioned for an immensely exciting finish. They have done well to have brought the wind with them this far but it will die over the next 48 hours and there will be a lull before the next weather pattern sweeps in at the end of the week.

The finishing line is at Ko Olina Resort and Marina on the south west corner of Oahu and the debates on how to approach it will be in full swing amongst the crews. It will be the leading boat that will have the hardest decision knowing that those chasing will take the other alternatives to try and get past. Jersey may have been leading for the last 16 days and 3,000 miles but this will only be a happy memory unless they get the strategy right now.

Sam Fuller on New York also thinks that the North holds the key. We saw them commit themselves to this policy yesterday as they saw no future in following the tracks of the leaders. They are presently enjoying surfing with white sails with up to 28 knots of wind on the beam. It would also be good to see someone try the southern approach and there is no reason why a boat should not run up to finish by passing to the west of the island of Hawaii.

Thought for today. Only 700 miles to go - race nearly over? Yes this is true but this is still more than a Fastnet Race! Race 5 of the Clipper Race equals 6.5 Fastnet Races whereas Clipper Round the Worlders do the equivalent to 57 Fastnet Races…..

Colin de Mowbray/ISAF Secretariat
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