The southeast winds have so far remained constant, between force 4 and force 6, and the fleet have all been making good progress to the north. They should also be having a helpful boost from the north going Guiana current.
This is all money in the bank for the inevitable slow down when they reach the ITCZ (Doldrums), and as they have now rounded the corner this is the next big event on the route and they are all contemplating how best to get through it. So far only Hong Kong have made a definite move away from the pack, gybing inshore to try and maximise the current, however so far this does not seem to have worked and they have actually lost a place to Liverpool.
There are some quite turbulent eddies in this area and as Bristol skipper Richard BUTLER points out in today's diary, if dealt a bad hand they could suddenly find themselves with two knots of current against them instead of two knots with. If consistent over a 12 hour period this could make over 40 miles difference to their runs.
Glasgow continues to sail just ahead of Jersey, often only by a matter of a few hundred yards, and the strain will no doubt be telling on both crews. Jersey also have the extra anxiety of now having Bristol in third place after they successfully overtook New Yok by the smallest of margins. Though still over 10 miles behind, it is their relative positions that will ultimately be important. As Richard BUTLER wryly comments, at least there is no pressure; at worst the entire outcome of the 2002 race could depend on it. Sorry Richard, but you will need to get used to that thought for a while. 27 September is still a long way off.
Although further down the overall result table, New York will also be feeling the pressure on this race. After their win into Salvador, they will be aiming for a podium position at the very least as they race towards the Big Apple. One thing is for sure. Wherever they come, skipper Ross DANIEL and his crew will be looking forward to a rousing reception when they tie up in mid Manhattan.
London and Liverpool continue to make good progress, but the competition at the back is hotting up as Cape Town, sailing 20 miles further than Hong Kong, and 10 more than Liverpool, are determined to get back in the running. And as the boats in the front slow down as they sail into the Doldrums anything could happen.
Positions at 0300 UCT
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