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24 June 2003, 02:34 pm
Leg Three Underway
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Volvo Baltic Race
Kiel (GER) - Sandhamn (SWE)

Strong winds of 28 to 32 knots, gusting up to 40 knots, with lumpy three-metre swells are predicted for the seven-strong fleet racing in leg three of the Volvo Baltic Race.
Strong winds of 28 to 32 knots, gusting up to 40 knots, with lumpy three-metre swells are predicted for the seven-strong fleet racing in leg three of the Volvo Baltic Race.

"At least we will get there quickly," exclaimed Erle WILLIAMS, the Kiwi skipper in charge of current leader TeamRS, looking on the bright side as he returned from the weather briefing.

The 470 nm offshore race from Kiel to Sandhamn (Sweden) will be the biggest test to date for both the two younger crews, many of whom have had very few hours sailing these high tech racing boats. It will certainly be a test of their stamina as gales were forecast for the current 24 hours, decreasing this evening once the cold front has passed.

The more experienced crews are relishing the challenge, and the competition between TeamRS and Challenge of Netsurvey is evident. Both these teams have international sailors in their crew, who have raced around the world on several occasions, and it is certain that none of these boats will have their crews anywhere other than on deck for the whole 470 nautical miles of this race.

At 1730 when the start gun fired, the late afternoon sun was still blazing, the humid air indicating the ever-present threat of huge thunder squalls. In a light, SSW 10 - 12 knot breeze, there was much shouting as the fleet started from north to south, short tacking with restricted sea room towards a rounding mark set close to the Kiel shore.

At the mark, spinnakers were set for the downwind leg to Kiel Lighthouse, where extra points can be gained. Challenge of Netsurvey led the fleet, five boat lengths ahead of TeamRS, with Atea at the head of the next group, closely followed by Elanders Ten Celsius and Sony Ericsson. The first five boats were flying big spinnakers whilst the two young crews on Nilorn and Pontona Youth hoisted small spinnakers for this close reach.

Following yesterday's short-course racing three protests were lodged. The protests by TeamRS against Challenge of Netsurvey and Pontona Youth against Atea were both dismissed. The protest by Atea against Nilorn was deemed invalid, so the provisional results are now official. TeamRS goes into the third race, just .5 of a point ahead of Challenge of Netsurvey; their nearest rival is Elanders Ten Celsius on 6.5 points.

Before the fleet reached the lighthouse today, Atea had filed a protest against Elanders Ten Celsius for a rule infringement, which will be heard in Sandhamn later this week.

This offshore race scores full points, plus an opportunity to pickup half points, or bonus points, at a gate situated off Kiel Lighthouse at the entrance to the Kieler Forde. The fleet is expected to arrive in Sandhamn on Thursday morning after a rough ride.

Results overall after two races

TeamRS - 10 points
Challenge of Netsurvey - 9.5 points
Elanders Ten Celsius - 6.5 points
Sony Ericsson - 5.5 points
Atea - 4.0 points
Nilorn - 3.5 points
Pontona Youth - 1.5 points
Event Media (As Amended by ISAF News Editor)
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