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3 July 2003, 11:36 am
Hard Nights, Hard Days
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Netsurvey Challenge© Oska Kihlborg/ Volvo Baltic Race

Volvo Baltic Race

The game of cat and mouse between TeamRS and Challenge of Netsurvey continued throughout the night, as boat speeds reached 20 knots under code three spinnakers.
At midnight, Erle WILLIAMS was still holding off Matt HUMPHRIES in Challenge of Netsurvey, but they were closing rapidly and were within one mile. Sony Ericsson (Thomas BLIXT) was right on the heels of Humphries as the boats thundered through the night.

At 0930 local time this morning, Mikke LUNDH, co-skipper of Elanders Ten Celsius reported they were sailing upwind in 25 - 35 knots of wind "The sea state is bad," said a tired Mikke, "I've seen worse, but it's not very pleasant. Not much food is being eaten." Elanders Ten Celsius had a bad night, breaking their halyard locks and also their reef lines, which took a lot out of the crew. They are trying to rest now as the boat bashes upwind with everything stacked to windward.

TeamRS, Challenge of Netsurvey and Sony Ericsson are 75 miles north of Sanhamnaren Lighthouse on the southeastern tip of Sweden. They have to beat 46 nm to the next mark where they will start heading north. If the wind remains west-southwest, they will be able to crack off for a screaming close reach for the final 160 miles to the finish.

Elanders Ten Celsius is ten miles behind the leaders but further offshore and Nilorn is trailing the fleet, 25 nautical miles behind the leaders. Nilorn is heading inshore towards the island of Oelande where they will have flatter sea until they have to tack out to clear the headland.

Latest reports indicate that Jan MORTENSSON has retired Atea from the race after badly damaging their mainsail.

At 0830 this morning, the low pressure, which was sitting over Gotland, had intensified and moved northwest to centre itself over Norrkoeping. Forecasts predict a steady southwesterly 25 knots. By 2230 tonight the wind should decrease by 5 - 10 knots. If the low pressure continues to do what is forecast, moving towards Gothenburg and then down to Copenhagen, the wind will go light as the centre of the low pressure envelops the fleet. Depending on the movement of this low pressure the fleet may encounter 5 - 10 knot headwinds once they pass between Sweden and Denmark at noon local time tomorrow.

Lizzie Green (As Amended by ISAF Secretariat)
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