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20 October 2004, 03:38 pm
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© Challenge Business

2004/2005 Global Challenge
Portsmouth (GBR) - Buenos Aires (ARG)

After the convergence from east and west made for incredibly close racing, there is now absolutely nothing between the top 2 yachts, both exactly 3,072nm from Buenos Aires!
After reporting a position of 2nm behind the leaders for the last 12 hours Barclays Adventurer has caught SAIC La Jolla to lay an equal claim on 1st place according to the latest figures showing the distance to the finish line. It simply cannot get any closer.

3rd place Samsung are just 3nm behind them but closest to Barclays Adventurer - the race viewer shows the teams right on top of one another.

4th place VAIO are 21nm behind Samsung, and only a further 6nm of water separates them, BG SPIRIT in 5th place and BP Explorer in 6th.

The leading 8 have now crossed into the southeast trade winds, currently enjoying an average speed of around 7 knots, interjected by squalls that have been reported across the fleet. Aboard SAIC La Jolla, skipper Eero found a novel way to deal with the increasing heat afflicting all the teams, described in the daily log this morning:

"A lighter side of a squall today was when the mainsail filled up with water in one of the reefs, and Eero decided to take a bath in it!"

Barclays Adventurer also commented on the squalls in their daily report from the water:

"At the moment, the winds are constant, then suddenly after a blip on the radar we get hit by a squall and the wind ramps from 15 to 25 knots in seconds. Quite exciting!"

The last 4 yachts are seeing an advantage over the leading group this morning as they maintain an average of over 8 knots. Team Save the Children has achieved the highest average speed since the last position report at 9.2 knots, probably because they are just crossing the band of easterly wind marking the convergence of the northeast and southeast trade winds, providing a much needed burst of boat speed.

Team Stelmar has also performed well since the early morning poll, with a high average speed resulting in a gain of 10nm on the leaders.

But, with Barclays Adventurer approximately 360nm from the equator at the time of this morning's poll and a predicted arrival time of tomorrow afternoon if they maintain current speeds, they will be hoping the doldrums live up to their reputation and halt the leading yachts' progress south.

Full position reports are available on the event website at the address below.
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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