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26 April 2003, 07:45 pm
Fleet Pass Muckle Flugga
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Round Britain Challenge
Round Great Britain

The top three yachts chose to come in close to Muckle Flugga last night, which has paid dividends, as there is now 40 miles between neck and neck BG Group and LogicaCMG and fourth place The Daily Telegraph.
The team aboard the Spirit of Southampton must be missing the south as they have now increased their lead by nearly 40 miles! Their tactical decision to tack early, before approaching Muckle Flugga, was a bold move by the team but their decision has paid off and they've been able to enjoy more favourable tides for a longer period than the chasing boats, still snapping at their heels.

The race viewer shows that all the yachts have been racing more of an Easterly course rather than turning down south immediately. They are likely to have done this because of the push of the Southerly winds and to give them a better angle with the South Easterly winds expected later today.

There may not have been much change in the top three positions recently but lower down the fleet there's a game of Yo Yo going on between the yachts! This morning's poll shows The Daily Telegraph in their relatively usual position of fourth but Spirit of Hong Kong is now in fifth, followed by Basilica which has certainly made up some miles, Vail Williams has gone down into seventh and Team Spirit is back in last place.

Mark Taylor explains why they may be where they are today: "I made a big tactical error yesterday, we stood on to the North expecting the wind to go southerly so that we could head east. It did not and consequently we went much too far north and sailed many extra miles."

In today's daily logs there is much talk about the freezing cold, John Crawford aboard Basilica explaining how: "twice we have had to help crew below who were so cold they couldn't help themselves". To explain, the northern tip of the Shetland Islands, where the fleet is currently racing, lies above latitude of 61 degrees north. This rocky outcrop is less than 350 miles south of the Arctic Circle, hence the extreme conditions the crews have been facing, despite being in British waters.

Remember, the crews are in the middle of one the toughest short challenges anyone can face. Not many can battle it out for nearly two weeks, day and night, non-stop in cold and wet conditions with people they hardly knew before they started their adventure. In fact, during a recent interview with the Times newspaper, Britain's rising sailing star, Emma Richards, who is currently competing in the Around Alone, recently compared sailing around the tip of the Shetland Isles to the notorious Southern Ocean, which is regarded as the most aggressive waters in the world!

If you have any questions that you would like us to ask the skippers then email the Editor on the letters page and we'll do our best to put your questions forward. Two skippers or mates are interviewed every day in rotation. Today we'll be chatting to The Daily Telegraph and Basilica. Tomorrow it's the turn to find out what's been happening on the lead boat Spirit of Southampton, with James Allen in the hot seat and we'll also find out what LogicaCMG have up their sleeves to get from second to first in a race where anyone could still win!
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