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29 April 2003, 03:25 pm
Slow Progress
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Around Alone - Leg Five
Salvador (BRA) - Newport (USA)

A small area of high pressure has developed to the west of Bermuda and it has thrown some of the boats an unwelcome curve-ball. The last 1,000 miles are always the toughest and when the wind gods don't cooperate it can be very trying.
Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group Armor lux kept moving overnight, but not at his usual blinding pace. From the 22:00 UTC poll last night until the 06:00 poll this morning Bobst Group Armor lux averaged 6.6 knots. At that rate he will only see the skyline of Newport sometime early Thursday morning. A weak front is due to pass overhead Bobst Group Armor lux during this evening bringing cooler weather and a light northerly wind. That wind will slowly move into the southeast by tomorrow, but without any real teeth. The offshore forecast is for 5 to 10 knots with slight seas. All that Stamm needs is wind and his flying machine will do the rest. So long as he gets in before Thursday evening he will miss the showers forecast for later in the week.

The skipper that is really feeling the effects of the small high is Bruce Schwab on Ocean Planet. Schwab and Brad Van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America have parked up overnight and Ocean Planet was sailing at a shade under 4 knots. In a short email this morning Schwab described his feelings. "Unfortunately, now I am in hell," he wrote. "Or rather, I have been completely parked up southeast of Bermuda while Simone gets away and Thierry catches up. Perhaps even Emma? I am going insane." It's true, while Bruce watches his sails slat back and forth Thierry Dubois on Solidaires is still moving reasonably well and has narrowed the gap to only 77 miles. His position to the west of Ocean Planet has him further away from the High and in a touch more breeze. Emma Richards on Pindar is also moving along although she is really going to have to have some good luck to overtake Ocean Planet. At the last poll Pindar was 218 miles behind Ocean Planet. With just over 700 miles to go for Schwab, Emma is going to have to really move.

From reading her log it seems as if the old Emma is finally back. Her log was upbeat and short, which meant that she had little time for writing. Instead, since we know Emma so well, we know that she would be at the helm trying to eke a bit more speed from the boat. "Wow what a perfect afternoon," she wrote. "Clouds finally came over and with them some wind. For the last few hours I have had 20 knots of wind and I hope to continue hand steering as long as it lasts, perhaps through most of the night before it gets light and frustrating. I have had gennaker and full main sailing downwind. Hopefully the wind will come forward a little so I can take down the gennaker and power reach which will be faster again, but I'll try not to be fussy. Not to waste it, I must go, 'til tomorrow."
Brian Hancock
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