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13 October 2004, 11:52 am
The Front Closes
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2004/2005 Global Challenge
Portsmouth (GBR) - Buenos Aires (ARG)

Barclays Adventurer has capitalized on their strong position in the middle of the two distinct packs, reeling in 19nm on the leading trio, now led by Samsung.
Since yesterday afternoon, Stuart JACKSON and his crew have barrelled down the middle of the course and could soon be in the mix with the top three, who appear to be taking turns to set the pace! Currently lying on the rhumb line, they have the luxury of heading east or west, depending on the approaching weather, without deviating too far from their desired course.

VAIO sneaked ahead of SAIC La Jolla last night and held a marginal lead until Samsung regained control this morning, but a lead of 3nm may well disappear by this afternoon.

The low-pressure system to the west is blowing a southwesterly onto the leading pack out west, ending the reaching conditions they had been enjoying as they tack into the wind, with the leading three yachts still only separated by 7nm.
After the wind acceleration zone gamble hinted at a reprieve for the easterly pack yesterday afternoon, the prize for the 'islanders' was, unfortunately, light winds and slow sailing.

David MELVILLE answered the question that supporters of BP Explorer may have been asking themselves in good humour in his daily log today:

"Well I suppose you would all like to know how you take a boat from first to the back of the pack in a few days. The answer is to take a holiday in the canaries."

"The only consolation was that we were not on our own. For most of this time Spirit of Sark were within close sight. First and second favourites, according to the bookies anyway, stuck behind an island where they should know better - ridiculous."


He went on to explain that the team had always "really rated BG SPIRIT and Spirit of Sark" so they decided to follow them through the islands "in a kind of collective madness!"

However, now that BG SPIRIT, Spirit of Sark and BP Explorer have passed through the islands they may gain from gradually increasing following winds nearer the coast.
The advantage has been firmly with the westerly yachts for some time, so a gain for the easterly pack after they sailed "oh so slowly" through the Canaries, according to David MELVILLE, will be an important psychological boost for the skippers and crews alike.

There is approximately 300nm to go until the trade winds traditionally bestow 15-20 knots of wind and daily runs of up to 180nm. Although the fleet is in two clear packs as they sail past the west coast of Morocco, the leg is only 11 days old and the teams still have to cross the doldrums, so first place in Buenos Aires is still a possibility for the whole fleet.
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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