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5 June 2003, 10:44 am
KAZ Sails West Towards Cape Wessel Across the Gulf of Carpentaria
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O3 Project - Round Australia Challenge
Round Australia

Sailors with disabilities are still making good time at the top of Australia heading west towards Cape Wessel in their attempt to circumnavigate Australia, and in doing so, break the non-stop unassisted record created in 1999.
At 5am this morning KAZ was 163 miles east of Cape York, having maintained 5 knots for much of the night. She was half way across the Gulf of Carpentaria, heading for the northern tip of Wessel Island off the Northern Territories Arnhem Land coast

Since turning west from Thursday Island, the north eastern tip of the Australian continent, the weather has softened and David PESCUD reported from KAZ this morning at 7.15am, "we are still making progress in a 10 knot south-easterly wind. We had a quiet time last night and yesterday, not much breeze, and we expect a quiet day again today.'

"Tomorrow we are expecting the winds to freshen to around 15-20 knots, and that should take us into next week and right across the top of Australia.

Asked was he pushing KAZ and the crew as hard as he could, Pescud said, 'no, we are going quick, but not as fast as we could. We don't see this as a race as such; it's more about getting KAZ around the track and finishing our circumnavigation. That is the bigger picture - we just want to look after our boat. We will continue our philosophy of going quick not fast - we want to get there.'

'The cook's (Phil Thompson) a ratbag, the boat is clean, we haven't had any dramas, KAZ is holding together well, and so are the crew, we are all a bit homesick, but we're having a great time - I am just watching the sunrise - it's beautiful, stunning, it's hard to imagine that we are in shorts and t-shirts now, but come the Southern Ocean we will be in balaclava's and thermal gear, I've seen the sunrise, I can go back to bed now,' a happy sounding Pescud added.

Yesterday, due to very light east north easterlies breezes, the 54 foot Lyons designed sloop travelled only 103 miles in 18 hours, a much more modest six knots.

This will be the 'make it or break it' leg, from Cape York to North West Cape, light and variable conditions could have the KAZ crew struggling to keep ahead of the 1999 pace set by Jeremy Pearce and Kanga Birtles' Magna Data. Pescud and co. will just have to hope they get the predicted weather.

At 11:00 local time last night (Wednesday 4 June) KAZ reached the 1800-mile mark, with 4700 miles to go, they were 133 miles east of Thursday Island.

Based on their average speed to date (around 7.2 knots), they should sail back into Sydney Harbour on 30 June... but right now that date is a long way away for our intrepid team.
Di Pearson
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