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8 June 2004, 11:51 am
Tricky Conditions For First Finishers
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The Transat
Plymouth (GBR) - Boston (USA)

The 60ft multihull fleet now closing on the finish line in Boston, are likely to encounter tricky conditions as a high pressure building off Boston will produce light SW to W, shifty and patchy winds in increasingly calm weather.
At 0330 GMT this morning, Michel DESJOYEAUX on leading 60ft trimaran Geant, described flat and fast sailing conditions, while second place Thomas COVILLE on Sodebo reported choppy seas and 23 knots of breeze. Geant has already crossed into shallow waters and records 100m depth while Coville is still climbing up the coastal shelf with 1,500m under his keel. However, in the last few hours Sodebo continues to close on Michel DESJOYEAUX'S lead - at the 0700 GMT positions Coville is now only 43 miles behind Desjoyeaux.

Whoever crosses the line first - current ETA is 2000 GMT - it is looking likely they will take over 24 hours off the existing transatlantic race record of 9 days, 23 hours, 21 minutes set by Francis JOYON in 2000. Joyon recently set a stunning new solo round the world record of just over under 73 days, stripping 20 days off Michel DESJOYEAUX previous record. To take 24 hours off a transatlantic record - especially one raced against the prevailing wind and conditions - would be a major achievement in solo offshore racing.

As the majority of the Open 60 monohull fleet sail into predicted conditions of 15-25 knots from NW, the leading IMOCA boats with under 1000 miles to go - Ecover (Mike GOLDING) and Pindar AlphaGraphics (Mike SANDERSON) - continue the relentless fight for first place and have traded pole position overnight. Leading this morning, Golding is the northerly of the two boats, just under four miles ahead of Sanderson and the boats are now close enough to be in visual contact with one another.

Meanwhile, third place monohull, Temenos (Dominique WAVRE), is closing on the front pair and is currently just 37 miles behind the lead boats. Trailing Wavre, in fourth and fifth position, Hellomoto (Conrad HUMPHREYS) and Skandia (Nick MOLONEY) have also made gains on the leaders, while Humphreys crept away from Moloney by a 5 miles in the early hours of this morning. During the skipper radio vacations on Transat Radio this morning, Nick MOLONEY revealed that during the night the aft deck hatch "blew open" and filled the back compartment of Skandia with several tons of water. Moloney woke up to knee-high water and had to open the stern escape hatch to release the majority of the water before manually bailing the rest out of the boat.

In the 50ft monohull class, the Bostonian battle between Kip STONE and Joe HARRIS has now turned in Harris' favour as he takes his Finot-designed Wells Fargo-American Pioneer II into the lead by 10 miles. Meanwhile, Dominique Demachy racing the 50ft multihull Gifi has retaken second place ahead of American Rich WILSON but still trailing the leader Eric BRUNEEL (Trilogic) by 100 miles.

The Transat team have now divided their efforts with a core Anglo-French media team remaining at the Race HQ at the Cowes Waterfront-Venture Quays base on the Isle of Wight to ensure detailed and continuous coverage of The Transat. Whilst on the American side, the Race Direction team are on site and the media centre is operational at the Boston Harbor Hotel. The arrival line can be seen from the top of the Boston Harbor Hotel and each boat will come into the "Finishers Podium" at Rowes Wharf directly in front of the hotel.

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