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21 April 2003, 07:34 pm
Charging Towards Newport
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Emma Richards on Pindar

Around Alone - Leg Five
Salvador (BRA) - Newport (USA)

By the end of the day today Bernard Stamm will have less than 2000 miles to go to the finish. At the speeds he has been sailing he could be in Newport as soon as next Monday or Tuesday, well ahead of his own optimistic ETA of May 1.

Bobst Group Armor lux is consistently knocking off days runs of over 300 miles and at last poll was averaging a shade under 15 knots. It's a pity that some of the top French sailors like Roland Jourdain, Michael Desjoyeaux and even the amazing British sailor Ellen MacArthur were not racing this race. It would be interesting to see how they would have fared against the Mighty Stamm. One thing is for certain, Bernard's performance has consistently been up there with the Volvo 60's who raced the same waters last year with a full crew of some of the top professional sailors on board.

The other incredible performance is one being turned in by Brad Van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. Brad had hoped to field his own Class 1 entry in the race but time ran out to build a new boat and to fund the campaign at a level high enough to meet Brad's standards. Instead he has been sailing a spectacular race in Class 2 and right now is ahead of two top Class 1 boats and nipping at the transom of another. It would have been interesting to see how Brad would have fared with his new boat racing against the likes of Bernard and Thierry.

Out on the "real" racecourse the fleet is rocketing towards the Caribbean Sea and will soon passing the latitude of some of those well known cruising spots like Antigua and Barbados. At the back of the pack, also sailing a great leg, is Alan Paris much recovered from his encounter with two whales last week. His usual upbeat daily log described life on board BTC Velocity. "Today, apart from no wind, has been a lovely day," he wrote. "It started with an hour long rain shower, perfect for a cockpit shower which after 7 days was desperately needed. Amazing how invigorated you feel after a refreshing shower at sea. It also dawned on me that for the first time in 5 days the pain associated with my ribs had moved somewhat into the background. I have been gybing in these light and shifty conditions and although I still have to move slowly the stabbing pain has been replaced with an ache."

Alan was also fortunate enough to discover a package on board that has been packed by friends from Bermuda. " I opened a package from my friends Gus and Sylvie Glennie, labeled 'Equator Northbound'. In this package was the following; 1/3 bottle of Moet & Chandon, tins of Fois Gras, Mackerel filets, Rainbow Trout pate, Baked beans and Vienna Sausages, a really good Raspberry Fruit cake and a packet of Pepper flavored water biscuits. The message in the food was clear to me. Luxuries and basics. Considering that I have almost no luxuries on board many of the above items were combined for my own personal Easter Sunday Brunch. Some of the Champagne was toasted to BTC Velocity and Neptune, the rest for me."

All the skippers enjoyed the Easter weekend in their own way. It was not their first holiday spent alone at sea, but holidays are a more poignant time for the skippers. Memories of Easter's past spent with friends and family come to mind and the loneliness becomes more acute. Still, the end of the race is looming large and Emma Richards on Pindar has been thinking about how relaxing it's going to be after the race is over. "I am looking forward to social interaction again when I get to shore," she wrote. "Each stopover so far I have known that in a few weeks I will be off on my own again. At the end of this leg I should be able to really relax."

Latest Results - Class 1
Position Yacht Distance to Finish Distance to Leader 24 hour run
1 Bobst Group-Armor Lux 1971.4 308.3
2 Tiscali 2065.9 94.4 293.8
3 Ocean Planet 2353.2 381.8 288.4
4 Solidaires 2481.2 509.8 320.9
5 Pindar 2513.5 542.1 319.9
Class 2
Position Yacht Distance to Finish Distance to Leader 24 hour run
1 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America 2405.8 288.9
2 Everest Horizontal 2553.1 147.3 254.7
3 Spirit of yukoh 2851.4 445.6 171.3
4 BTC Velocity 3025.6 619.8 119.2
Brian Hancock/ISAF Secretariat
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