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20 April 2003, 07:08 pm
Top Three Neck and Neck
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Working the foredeckon Spirit of Southampton© Challenge Business

Round Britain Challenge

Although BG Group were first round the Scilly Isles early this morning, the latest position report indicates there is nothing now separating the first three yachts - LogicaCMG, BG Group and Spirit of Southampton.

They are sailing in virtually the same stretch of water in close proximity to each other. With no tactical positioning advantage, the crews will be working hard trimming to squeeze out any additional boat speed.

With some spectacular and fast racing overnight all the yachts had successfully rounded the Scilly Islands less than 24 hours from the start.

This first "stage" of the race has seen incredible drama and close racing.

LogicaCMG, (Dougie Gillespie), BG Group (Clive Crosby) and Spirit of Southampton (James Allen) are neck and neck with 1567 miles to go, closely followed by Daily Telegraph (Jim Allen) and Basilica (Jon Crawford) just 9 miles behind.

The group at the rear of the fleet is made up of Spirit of Hong Kong, (Ian Buchele) Vail Williams (Pete Scoggins) and Team Spirit (Mark Taylor) all of whom suffered spectacular broaches in the Solent after deciding to fly their kites.

As Mark Taylor said in his daily log "it was a marginal decision to fly the kite". Unfortunately for those who chose the kite option in the Solent, the conditions proved too much. All three broached and suffered varying degrees of damage. Team Spirit broke a spinnaker pole, while Vail Williams shredded their kite.

The dramas of the Solent were to be repeated later on into the day. Reading the first daily logs coming off the yachts, it seems that both Spirit of Southampton and BG Group also broached with their kites up while surfing down the uneven swell.

With speeds of around 20 knots, this has been fast, furious and exciting sailing.

The forecast is for north-easterly 5 of 6 but dropping to around Force 3 to 4. With the fleet rounding the Scilly Isles, they will be heading up onto a close reach as they head to the southern tip of Island.

Latest Positions at 13.15 GMT

Position Yacht Distance to Finsih Distance to Leader 24 hour run
1 LogicaCMG 1567 0 242
2 BG Group 1567 0 241
3 Spirit of Southampton 1567 0 242
4 Daily Telegraph 1576 9 234
5 Basilica 1576 9 232
6 Spirit of Hong Kong 1589 22 225
7 Vail Williams 1593 26 223
8 Team Spirit 1598 31 219
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