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24 March 2003, 11:50 am
New Leader as Fleet Split
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Tasaki Osaka Cup
Melbourne - Osaka

If a week ago, you suggested that a cruiser-racer IMX 45 Lulu, would be leading the 2003 Melbourne to Osaka race as the fleet moved into Queensland, the other guys at the bar would have suggested you were three sheets to the wind.
Tonight Ryuzo Suzuki's Lulu is 938 miles from the Portsea Pier start, more than 75 miles ahead of the Elliott 14m Maverick II with Kontrol another 40 miles back.

In second place is another X-Yacht, X-Dream, less than two miles behind the race leader, surprise certainly.

This afternoon it was clear that Kiwi Brian Petersen did not have an IMX-45 on his radar screen as he talked about Maverick II's race.

He commented by satellite; "At our present position we are comfortable being on the outside of the current, we have good boat speed with little and at times no current against us, as well we are in touch with our most likely opposition Kontrol and Team FGI."

Later in the afternoon he was thinking more about the inside boats. "The boats on the coast must have been having great conditions, I actually envy them a little bit, being able to enjoy the scenery along the Aussie east coast."

At 17:30 AEST the thoroughbred racers Maverick II, Kontrol, Team FGI and Funnel Web, sat uncomfortably through the radio sked with Penta Comstat and found that those inshore had sailed through them.

Tonight, the racers are sailing with gritted teeth… - with 4,000 miles to go, its certainly an interesting race.
Rob Kothe/Sail-World.com
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