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The Race Team Adventure struggles

by Keith Taylor on 2 Feb 2001
Positioned almost midway between the Cape of Good Hope and
Australia's Cape Leeuwin, the American catamaran Team Adventure paused in mid-ocean today to repair battens in
her 15-story high mainsail after three days of grueling upwind sailing.

'We are stopped due to a problem with battens and we're fixing it while we wait for the wind,' said co-navigator Larry
Rosenfeld in a brief, cryptic message from the 110-foot catamaran. 'Not to worry!'

Currently in third place in The Race of the Millennium, Team Adventure's progress east has been slowed dramatically
by two blocking weather systems - first a high pressure system and then a low that dropped down into her path from
more northern latitudes. Both brought headwinds and confused seas that left Team Adventure slamming and
crashing to windward at 300 to 350 miles a day while her competition ahead ran away before following westerlies,
covering distances from 550 to 600 miles a day.

The American boat spent nearly five days in Cape Town, South Africa, last week getting medical help for two injured
crewmen and repairing the main crossbeam, damaged when the boat slammed into a big sea. She set out from
Cape Town last Friday, 3,700 miles behind the lead boat Club Med. Plagued by the adverse weather Team Adventure
now trails Club Med by 4,450 miles.

'We still have wind on the nose,' said skipper Cam Lewis, today. 'This may not be the last time that I mention this,
but this is not much fun. We are continuing to pay our dues. Bang, bang, BANG! The cat lurches and pounds
forward. It is not as bad as the first night out of Cape Town, but it is damn uncomfortable and wearing on the nerves
and the gear.

'Somewhere down the track we all hope to enjoy some true Southern Ocean sailing. We have yet to have any really
good stuff - big rolling swells, 25 knots of following breeze, gennaker up and going fast.

'The weather has gone from nasty to nice and sunny, back to nasty. The albatrosses have all gone away - natural
barometers indicating that the weather will soon get real bad.'

Ken Campbell of Commanders' Weather Service in Nashua, NH, confirmed that the boat was taking it easy as it
waited for a cold front, approaching from astern.

'Seas are very confused and they are taking it slowly,' he said. 'They have the typical sea state of westerly swells,
mixing with the extraordinary sea state generated by the northeast winds. These are very difficult conditions, very
hard for them. Besides, there is no sense in pushing forward into the middle of the low that is tracking down just
ahead of them.

'There is nothing that they can do right now but take it slowly,' Campbell explained. 'However they are going into a
transition phase today. The boat is in a nice position right now between the low and an approaching cold front. She is
not really being hammered by either of these at this point.

'This will all change over the next 48 hours as the boat finally gets into the westerlies. The low will explode when it
gets down to the Kerguelan Islands so the boat will stay north of it and ride the associated westerlies. If they latch
onto this low, they can ride its strong westerlies for the next five or six days.'

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