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26 March 2003, 10:50 am
Funnel Web Reports
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Tasaki Osaka Cup
Melbourne - Osaka

At the front of the Melbourne to Osaka fleet this afternoon, Maverick II 235 nm NNE of Breaksea Spit well north of Noumea's latitude.
Second placed Lulu is just outside the Great Barrier Reef, now 56 miles behind the leader. X Dream is 3rd, having stayed within 10 miles of Lulu for the last 400 miles.

Plantronics Duo Pro is 4th 98 miles due south of the race leader.

Another 100 miles back in the fleet Sibby Macfadyen on Funnel Web is waxing lyrical about the conditions:

'"The water has turned to the most magical blue, and the sea temperature is now 27.1 degrees! The sun is shining almost around the clock (except when the moon gives her a break) and the winds have come upon us!

We have spent all day sorting out sails. Various spinnakers and kites have gone up and come down again. Knots have been sorted out, sails untangled, sail-socks unravelled and tucked over the sails again. The result is; we are moving!

I am feeling very happy with the result. It has taken a few fights over the last couple of days to make all this happen. Some crew appear to be in it for the 'experience' others are in it to win. And even though there is no wind (was no wind) I cannot sit around and let that be my destiny.

I have plotted all the oppositions' boat positions on my chart and have worked out estimate speed required to creep up on them. Some of the kites were tried out today and I am happy with the result.

At ten o'clock this morning we had the boat finally doing the speeds it should given the current wind conditions. Other kites were unravelled and sorted out on deck.

This afternoon's position looks a lot more promising and I am now happy that everything in our power is being done to move ahead. We had a couple of situations where due to experimenting with different sail angles and positions, the boom cam precariously close to breaking, however luck was on our side at the time.

I remember the second time it happened, I just looked at Ivan with absolute horror and devastation ready to burst into tears, but the boat managed to swing around in time to save the boom from breaking.

In the meantime, I think we are starting to run low on food, but this does not concern me. I have worked out ways of getting some rice and pasta saturated over night (bearing in mind we have no matches!), and I am far more concerned about moving ahead. We have plenty of water and a water maker, so that's all we need in an emergency.

Our skin is slowly getting brown, we are sticky and salty and I so long for a 2 hour shower! My hair has become just a ball of knots! I think a crew cut would have been a little more appropriate, next time perhaps! The sun, salt and wind is still affecting my face, but now that we are on our way, it doesn't seem to matter so much. It can all be fixed up at the other end. Ivan's ribs are slightly better following 2 to 3 days rest on his bunk. One seems to be worse than the other, but all things heal in time. No point complaining, no one will hear it anyway!

Seen some fly fish today. That was exciting, as we have not seen anything for almost a week. I wonder how they do that? Quite clever really.

I am hoping to clear Cato Island by tonight. I hope the wind is on our side. The sails certainly are now. "
Al Constable,
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