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TEAM ADVENTURE DRAWS AWAY TO AN EARLY LEAD IN 'THE RACE'

by on 1 Jan 2001
Cam Lewis' 110-foot Team Adventure had
pulled out to an early lead of four miles in The Race of The Millennium,
just four hours after the start of the around-the-world adventure here
today.

The Race is a grueling, non-stop 27,000-mile sailing sprint around the
world. After rounding the Cape of Good Hope, sailing through Cook Strait
between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, and rounding Cape Horn,
the first boats are expected in Marseilles, France, in 60 to 65 days,
breaking all existing sailing records for circumnavigations of the globe.

Friends, family and key supporters joined the full Team Adventure crew of 14
as they gathered on the 60-foot wide trampoline spanning the bows of the big
cat. They listened as Lewis' aunt, The Reverend Carol Sims, from St James
Episcopal Church in Lewistown, Maine, blessed and baptized the new boat.
Lewis' wife Molly completed the brief christening ceremony as, watched by
their sons Beau, 5, and Max, 7, she poured champagne over the longeron
(bowsprit) of Team Adventure.

Five giant catamarans answered the starting gun off Barcelona's Olympic
sailing harbor. Conditions were ideal with a bright sun and blue sky and a
chilly 12-knot northwesterly breeze that gusted at times to 18 knots.

The Polish boat Warta-Polpharma, at 90 feet the smallest boat in the race,
made an excellent start inshore. Team Adventure was next to her on the
start line, with her sister-ship Innovation Explorer further down the line,
with a reefed mainsail. Playstation, the largest boat racing, at 125 feet,
also had a reefed mainsail. Club Med, the third of the nearly identical
Ollier 110-foot catamarans, started just behind the other four. Legato, the
sixth boat entered in The Race, was stranded ashore as she completed a
mandatory safety check required of all competitors before they start. She
was expected to leave the dock later tonight.

A lull in the wind at the start left the boats crawling off the line but
moments later they accelerated gracefully away. Monitored closely by seven
helicopters, two fixed wing aircraft, the Goodyear blimp and a fleet of
hundreds of spectator craft, they sped off east along the beach to a turning
mark about two miles away.

At the second mark Team Adventure accelerated away on a broad reach, flying
a hull as she led Club Med by 3 min 54 sec, followed by Warta at 4 min 4
sec. Playstation came next, 5 min 55 seconds behind Team Adventure, and
Innovation Explorer was fifth, 8 min 8 seconds behind the leader.

Two legs later Team Adventure was the first boat to turn the final inshore
mark and head for Gibraltar. With her weather hull lifting gracefully in the
puffs, she was pulling away from the rest of the fleet but Playstation was
shaking out the reef in her mainsail and preparing to do battle.

At 6:00 PM local time, about an hour after sunset, Team Adventure had
already covered 60 miles of the course. She led Club Med by four miles while
Playstation was only a mile and a half behind Club Med. Innovation Explorer
was clinging to Club Med, just half a mile away. It appeared that Warta had
suffered an early mishap. Her average speed had dropped to nine knots, half
the speed of her competition and she had fallen 30 miles behind the leaders.

The fleet can expect increasing wind strength overnight, building to winds
close to storm strength ahead of a cold front approaching the Straits of
Gibraltar.

Team Adventure is a partner in a pair of innovative web sites.
www.nationalgeographic.com/teamrace, the web site of the National Geographic
Society, is the educational partner in the collaborative venture. The
National Pubic Radio affiliates WBUR in Boston, MA, at www.WBUR.org, and
WRNI in Providence, RI, at www.wrni.org, are the exclusive radio media
partners.

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