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21 April 2003, 07:21 pm
Day 3 Report - Life at Sea
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BG Group at the start© Challenge Business

Round Britain Challenge
Southampton

The fleet is making good progress up to Waypoint Alpha and there is still little separating the front 4 boats. BG Group, LogicaCMG, Spirit of Southampton and Basilica were all within 5 miles of each other at the last pole

Challenge Business caught up with both BG Group and Team Spirit this morning, via Satellite phone, to get a feel for life onboard the front and back runners. Both yachts are now settling into life onboard and spirits are high.

Clive Cosby, aboard BG Group congratulated his crew for pushing hard and taking the lead, "everyone's happy, they've been working really hard. We were battling with LogicaCMG yesterday and eventually squeezed two boat lengths. We were annoyed to loose the lead, but it looks like the, "huge fishing net", as Clive describes what put them a mile behind yesterday, is in the distant past.

"We're going to continue pushing hard and we're hoping we can stay in the lead and are the first to reach Waypoint Alpha. We're breaking the race down into legs and Waypoint Alpha is the first leg, which we should reach some time this evening.

"It's getting much more tactical now as the winds are starting to shift," Clive continued, obviously still very aware of the threat of LogicaCMG two miles off BG Group's starboard beam and Spirit of Southampton just three miles behind, taking more of a westerly route.

This morning, BG Group was 20 miles North West of Dingle Bay and 100 miles from Waypoint Alpha. Clive described the scene, "the weather out here is beautiful, it's tropical, but a bit colder! Yesterday was a bit damp but it's a sunny day today."

The weather and a front lead isn't the only thing which is keeping spirits high onboard BG Group. Despite running out of fresh milk this morning (they will now have long life milk for the rest of the race), "yesterday we had Easter eggs, thanks to five of our crew who dressed up as Easter bunnies!"

There was a similar story aboard the big red boat Team Spirit, as skipper Mark Taylor describes: "Yesterday we had an Easter egg hunt. Racing onboard means it was certainly a different Easter for everyone."

So far it's not been an easy ride for Team Spirit, starting with the start day's broach. Mark describes: "We were sailing yesterday afternoon and broke a batten in the mainsail. We were going to do an immediate repair but it was quite breezy and we didn't want to drop our mainsail. We knew we were going to be coming into lighter air so we decided to keep going so we didn't lose that much time.

"It's OK now. No real drama. Not like the drama on the first day. When we broached a pole shattered, which makes gybing slow. When the fleet sailed out of the Needles they poled out their headsails but we've only got one now. However, the spinnaker is fine and although I'd prefer not to lose either I'd prefer to lose the pole rather than the sail."

Psychologically it must be hard for the crew aboard Team Spirit, which is now 34 miles from the leader, "spirits are good," continues Mark, "although it's obviously disappointing. The first night we were pleased because despite the start we still had the seven yachts in sight so we'd not dropped back by that much. And yesterday we still had Vail Williams in our sights. But we just don't seem to making boat speed at the minute"

Questioned about the rest of the race Mark added, "there's a long way to go. Spirit of Hong Kong's flanker is completely shredded and Vail Williams' is badly torn so we're hoping to make up the miles in the right downwind conditions."

So, it's on to the first waypoint, Waypoint Alpha. The yachts are now averaging around 9.2 knots as they continue to chase on around the west coast of Ireland and one another on their third day of the race.

Positions at 13.26 GMT

Position Yacht Latitude Longitude Distance to Finish Distance to Leader 24 hour run 24 hour speed
1 LogicaCMG N 52° 50' 10" W 11° 25' 55" 1367 - 197 8.2
2 BG Group N 52° 50' 53" W 11° 29' 19" 1367 0 198 8.3
3 Spirit of Southampton N 52° 48' 43" W 11° 31' 24" 1369 2 198 8.2
4 The Daily Telegraph N 52° 47' 12" W 11° 17' 53" 1372 5 199 8.3
5 Basilica N 52° 35' 14" W 11° 48' 31" 1380 13 204 8.5
6 Vail Williams N 52° 22' 24" W 11° 47' 43" 1392 25 214 8.9
7 Team Spirit N 52° 11' 38" W 11° 43' 0" 1404 37 209 8.7
8 Spirit Of Hong Kong N 52° 10' 53" W 12° 8' 41" 1405 38 212 8.9
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