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26 April 2005, 03:30 pm
DROUGLAZET Remains Clear
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Trophée BPE

With less than 30 miles separating the top ten boats, this is one of the closest finishes ever seen in a transatlantic race. However, Eric DROUGLAZET (FRA) has been able to keep some clear water between himself and the chasers at the front of the fleet.
Sam DAVIES (GBR) remains in fourth, 3nm behind Charles CAUDRELIER (FRA) at the 1400 GMT poll. After being separated from fifth place Dominic VITTET (FRA) by just 0.6nm this morning, the Brit has now got a more comfortable five mile advantage over fifth. Gildas MORVAN (FRA) has kept his second place although he is now less than half a mile in front of CAUDRELIER with the pair a further 12 miles behind DROUGLAZET at the front.

At the 1900hrs position report last night, DAVIES had moved up to second but considering the five leading boats are now within 21 miles of each other, it is no surprise to see places changing so rapidly. Further place changing is expected today as the fleet continue to compress averaging speeds between five and seven knots.

DAVIES was not alone on the water yesterday, after spending the afternoon sailing alongside CAUDRELIER with MORVAN just in front, 'It's quite nice to gauge my speed against them,' said DAVIES, 'and it was good to have Gildas and Charles next to me because they're really fast!'

Conditions are forecasted to improve today as the sea breeze fills in later on. The next 36 hours will see the fleet gybing downwind, hopefully creating easier sailing conditions. Due to the closeness of this race, and their competitiveness, the twelve skippers are being forced into racing with the strategy they would normally adopt in a normal short race - minimal sleep and maximum time at the helm. After racing 3,800nm across the Atlantic this is not recommended. As DAVIES says, 'I think everyone's going to collapse at the end of this race!' (As Amended By ISAF). Image, VITTET is closing up on DAVIES in fourth:© Benoit STICHELBAUT
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