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11 October 2004, 12:58 pm
Westerly Gamble Pays Dividend
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2004/2005 Global Challenge
Portsmouth (GBR) - Buenos Aires (ARG)

As the yachts in the Global Challenge make their way past Madeira there are some changes taking place on the leader board. The yachts which have boldly followed more of a westerly course have now taken the lead.
Team SAIC La Jolla is getting a taste of first place glory with Samsung breathing down their neck hard in second with VAIO now up with the leaders in third. The only female skipper in the race and the first Brit up with the front runners, Dee Caffari, is in fourth place and chasing hard.

All the yachts have slowed down over the past 24 hours as a result of high pressure moving over the fleet. The westerly yachts are currently experiencing reaching conditions whereas the yachts taking more of an easterly route very slow, light downwind conditions.

SAIC La Jolla have no idea they have gone into first place reporting in their daily log the conditions as being: "Frustrating" - with winds ranging from less than 1 knot to 6 knots from SSE to WNW. But our helmsmen, with unwavering concentration, have kept us moving (generally) in the right direction. Momentum is key here with a 40plus ton yacht, just got to keep the boat moving!"

BP Explorer (fourth) and Spirit of Sark (fifth) - early leaders for much of the race - have now shifted down the pack, although there are just 48 miles between first and ninth yacht.

Winds are currently light for the crews preparing them for the frustrations due to hit the fleet further south in the Doldrums. Barclays Adventurer reported in their daily log: "Shorts and T-shirts during the day, a bit of Bob Marley down below in the chill out room and Madeira cake within sight of Madeira. It looks like the fleet are starting to bunch up a little so it will be great racing over the next few days."

BP Explorer explained how conditions on their yacht was like in these lighter winds: "It's in these situations where brains take over from brawn and the physical challenge makes way to the mental challenge. It doesn't mean we're sitting around waiting for wind though. We are hoisting and dropping spinnakers and headsails at a tiring pace and analysing every fraction of a knot difference. (Skipper) David (Melville) has resorted to shouting into the skies demanding wind and has given the rest of the crew permission to pray to their gods."

Time will tell if their prayers are answered!
Rachel Anning (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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