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29 March 2003, 02:42 pm
Leaders approach Doldrums
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Tasaki Osaka Cup
Melbourne - Osaka

The waters of the Solomon Sea provide the Melbourne to Osaka fleet with their crossing of the Equatorial Doldrums. This is sure to produced a reshuffled leaderboard.
At 15:00 on Day 13 the race leader Maverick was at 8 degrees 32 minutes south, 46 miles north of Laughlin Island and sailing north towards New Ireland at 10 knots.

She has a good 200-mile buffer on second placed Kontrol, who if she wants to take the centre step on the podium, will have to grasp every opportunity the Doldrums may offer.

However, the leader will be tough to catch. Sailing at Hamilton Island in 2001 Brian Petersen showed he could keep Maverick II ghosting along it the lightest of breezes. It will be just these skills that may see the yacht and crew cross the Doldrums with speed and challenge Wild Thing's 1995 race record.

Lulu maintaining her excellent third 50 miles behind Kontrol, will pass Rossel Light three hours after sunset.

30 miles back and in sight of each other, Club Marine Wizard and Planatronics Duo Pro battle it out, ahead of X-Dream. Jon Sayer, the 1999 race winner, has his Sumo 10.1 Team FGI performing well and is catching the chase group.

No Fearr the early race leader off Gabo Island ran into a number of problems that dumped her behind the pack. She is currently 700 miles back and has only managed to sail through the leisurely paced Swan 42 Naniwa.

A mellow Phil Coombs reported by satellite phone; 'We have made a rash decision over the last few days. Why let a yacht race ruin such beautiful sailing.

We are now getting down to beautiful trade wind sailing 8 to 15 knots from the SE/east flat water, sunny skies and warm.

Yesterday we had the code 0 up all day and said - it doesn't get any better than this!!!!

Well it does. Today we have up our big asymmetrical kite and 'it doesn't get any bigger than that,' Captain we cannot go any faster!!!! (Well for 0 knots of wind speed anyway).

We are looking forward to more speed though as we lighten ship.

With caterer wife providing us enough food for 20 we will speed up as we gradually go through 3.5 tonnes of food.

We will be the only crew in Osaka big enough to qualify for the Sumo demonstrations.

Speaking of food Peter caught his first fish yesterday but we couldn't decide wether to have cutlets or fillets. Tough decision.

By the way had a CFD yesterday???? (Crisis free day.... awesome).'

Al Constable, Sail-World.com
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