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13 April 2005, 04:32 pm
MORVAN Suffers
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Trophée BPE

Pre-race favourite Gildas MORVAN (FRA) has slowed dramatically after losing his second place to Eric DROUGLAZET (FRA). He and fourth place Yannick BESTAVEN (FRA) are now under threat from Sam DAVIES (GBR), who is speedily crossing the gap back to fifth.
The fleet are continuing to average speeds of around ten knots, spinnaker sailing in a southeast wind of 10-20 knots. CAUDRELIER on Bostik has stretched his lead to 26 miles but with only just over 30 miles separating the leading three boats, more place changing occurred this morning as Credit Maritime-Zerotwo, skippered by DROUGLAZET snatched second place, and has pulled out an eight mile lead over MORVAN on Cercle Vert.

DAVIES on Skandia has hung on to fifth place after being the fastest boat in the fleet yesterday, averaging 11.4 knots of boat speed. This has enabled DAVIES to gain some miles on the race leader Charles CAUDRELIER and haul herself closer to fourth place man BESTAVEN.

Earlier in the day DAVIES had pulled in front of sixth place Marc EMIG (FRA) by nine miles but the Frenchman has fought back and at the 1400 hours GMT poll was just 0.6 miles back.

The two boats furthest south, Armel TRIPON (FRA) on Gedimat and Dominic VITTET's (FRA) Atao Audio System, lost a few miles overnight but at 1400 gedimat was the quickest boat in the fleet and will be looking to make up those loses.

Antonio PEDRO DA CRUZ (CPV), skipper of the most northerly boat, Little Black Shark, has electronic problems with his autopilot which is making it impossible for him to sleep. He is working on repairing it but until it is completely fixed, he cannot trust it. Early this morning he confirmed his greatest fears, 'I know that without the pilot, I am not really in the race anymore, but I will continue for everyone who is supporting me.'

DAVIES has estimated that the fleet will be passing the Bahamas in about ten days' time, but she is not sure is they will still be as tightly grouped together: 'I think it can still be quite close. I hope it will be quite close because it will make it fun and great for everyone watching. I've never sailed round there before so I don't know whether there's opportunities or passing lanes but I believe anything can happen right to the finish.'

There are now fewer than 2,500 miles to the finish although DAVIES is far from focusing on that now, 'It's such a long way to go, at the moment I'm not thinking too much about positions in the fleet, in terms of finishing because there's so many things that could happen between now and Cuba...' (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Skandia is catching the leaders:© Benoit Stichelbaut/DPPI
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