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25 February 2003, 09:07 am
Stamms Bid For Overall Victory Is Under Threat
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Keel Damage

Around Alone - Leg Four
Tauranga (NZL) - Salvador (BRA)

After much reflection and consultation upon all the options for repair open to him, Bernard Stamm is now heading for the Falkland Islands.
He was less than 200 miles from Port Stanley this afternoon, which is in the South East of the main island.

"With the means I have on board, I have made a repair that will hold for about 400 miles: at the Falklands, everything is there for me to make this repair last until Bahia."

Pierre Rolland and Denis Glehen are working on the job list for Stamm, as Catherine Rouge, Bernard's partner, and shore team Benoît Lequin and JC Caso get the operation into action so that Bernard will arrive in port with a team ready to get to work on the boat. Philippe Poupon, a skipper who knows the resources of this region well, is on side to help find an effective team. The clock is ticking - this must be the shortest possible pit-stop in the knowledge that the skipper and boat will be penalised 48 hours for receiving outside assistance. Currently on 30 points after three consecutive victories, Bernard Stamm cannot afford to lose such an advantage, which he has fought so hard to gain. Thierry Dubois, his direct rival, is only 3 points behind him. So a fourth placing in this leg will in effect put Bernard on equal points with the skipper of Solidaires.

It is in light airs that Bobst Group/Armor Lux moves along at 6 knots boatspeed, the skipper estimating his arrival at Port Stanley on Wednesday morning at the latest. "I need to keep on manoeuvring the boat all the time but with some caution. I can't push her as I'd like, as the keel is the counterweight to all the pressure taken by the rig, and it is in no state to support such big loads." At least the moderate conditions are not threatening the safety of the boat, but the race against time has begun. At 14:00GMT, Bobst Group/Armor Lux was 64 miles ahead of Solidaires, 563m ahead of Hexagon - who is stopping as well to fix the broken boom - and 565m ahead of Tiscali.
Brian Hancock/ISAF News Editor
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