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17 October 2004, 07:46 pm
Two Weeks In And It|s Tight At The Top
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Spinnaker Dropon GlobalExplorer

Global Challenge

The island of Fogo is essentially a towering volcanic cone, capped by Mount Fogo at 2829 miles above sea level.
With the wind hitting the north east of the island, a course past the south west was always going to be a risk for Duggie Gillespie and the crew of Spirit of Sark.

The Cape Verde islands are known to bestow wind shadows and turbulence to the south and south west and the latest figures suggest that Spirit of Sark have felt the effect of a wind shadow, possibly courteousy of Mount Fogo. Their SMG (Speed Made Good - the speed between the last two reported satellite positions) has plummeted from a healthy 8.4 knots this morning to 5 knots according to this afternoon's poll.

The loss of boat speed today has cost them three places on the leader board, leaving them in 6th place, 20nm further back from the fleet leader.

On a happier note, Samsung are still in 1 place enjoying a 11nm advantage over 2nd place Barclays Adventurer with SAIC La Jolla moving into 3.

Team Stelmar, Me to You and Pindar are in 9, 10 and 11 respectively, currently passing through the Cape Verde Islands and reporting small gains on the leaders since this morning.

Team Save the Children are yet to reach the islands but will be fighting hard to stay with the fleet. They also gained on the leader today, but will be aiming for more significant reductions in the distance between themselves and the leading pack when the fleet navigate their way through the doldrums.

All four teams yet to pass the islands are following Spirit of Sark's course between the islands of Sau Nicolau and Sal. BP Explorer also passed through the islands, but they chose a night time pass between two uninhabited islands making for a challenging, but exciting night:

"A tense spell for the helmsman and the kite trimmers described the mood on deck … as we passed two small uninhabited land-masses belonging to the Cape Verdes," reported Naomi Cudmore in BP Explorer's daily log. "With apparently no lights on these particular outposts to guide us, we found ourselves relying on our best carrot fuelled night vision to navigate the narrow channel available to us. For the first time since the Solent we also made use of the depth gauge; there were just seven metres of water below the keel at one point."
Dan Wedgwood
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