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25 April 2005, 05:16 pm
Approaching Gridlock
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Trophée BPE

After a frustrating 48 hours of sailing in virtually no wind, the leaders are within twenty miles of the south eastern coast of Cuba. The fleet have continued to compress and now less than 40 miles separate the top ten boats.
At the 1400 hours GMT poll Sam DAVIES (GBR) was in fourth place 5nm behind Charles CAUDRELIER (FRA), who lost his second place to Gildas MORVAN (FRA) during the day. At the front of the fleet leading MORVAN by about 15nm remains Eric DROUGLAZET (FRA), although the Frenchman has now been reduced to a measly 0.3 knots.

Behind DAVIES, Dominic VITTET (FRA) is in fifth and narrowing the four mile gap to the Brit, whilst Jeanne GREGOIRE completes the top six a further eight miles back.

DAVIES commented, 'the last two days have been flat calm and so hot, boat speed has averaged no more than 2.5 knots. There is no steerage because the boat isn't moving so I have been on the helm all day. I'm feeling really tired - it's impossible to sleep in conditions like this.'

With 400 miles to go and about three or four sailing days left, DAVIES has started to think about the finish, 'I am happy to be here but I am looking forward to the finish now. For me the finish was when I when through the Turks & Caicos Island passage. Since then it's turned funny and feels like a completely different race. We knew that this race could finish like this all along but it is hard not to be frustrated by it. The leading boats who have worked so hard to get to where they are now being caught up by boats that were previously over 100 miles behind. It just feels like all the work that has been done to achieve a good position has come to nothing.'

DAVIES is not the only skipper feeling like this, when she spoke to MORVAN on VHF yesterday, he mentioned that he and CAUDRELIER were also talking earlier on in the day about the frustration surrounding the past few days of sailing: 'Everyone at the front is in a grump!'

The wind is due to pick up later today and although this is only expected to be a few knots stronger, this will be a welcome sight after a painfully slow few days of sailing in no more than four knots of wind. (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Marc EMIG (FRA) is catching the leaders from eighth: © Gilles Martin Raget
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