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by Kingfisher Media on 7 Feb 2001
PRB touched the new westerly winds early yesterday morning. KINGFISHER
didn't get them until 1630, and in that time Mich Desj has once again
stretched out his lead to 122 miles. Both boats are now speeding towards Les
Sables, but heading right in to a big storm that will test the tired boats
and skippers to their limits over the next 36 hours or more. Winds of 40 to
50 knots with gusts to 60 - 65 knots according to Pierre Lasnier of
MeteoMer. Then a second depression should take them to the finish line.
Check out the weather situation

* Where are they? The leaders are now to the west of Madeira, although
several hundred miles away. They are heading towards Cape Finistere, the
final landmark before Les Sables d'Olonne and the finish line of this
marathon of the seas. Mich Desj estimate for arrival is Saturday evening...

* SILL revealed a shocker of a 24 hours that kicked off with his auto-pilot
motor failing without warning, which sent his boat in to a huge wipe-out in
which he broke a sail batten and damaged the mainsail. Preferring to avoid
further damage, he dropped the sail for 3 hours to effect repairs and
re-hoisted. As part of his post-drama boat check he was shocked to discover
nearly a ton of water sloshing around in the forward watertight compartment
- a result of a leak at the base of the babystay he was to discover [one of
the forward parts of the rigging which supports the mast, and goes through
the deck]. Having pumped the water out, the final blow came when the tooth
filling that he had done in an emergency after returning to Les Sables just
a few hours in to the race, came out. But, on he goes, exiting the Azores
high with relative ease, some 296 miles behind KINGFISHER, a target he has
not yet given up on...

* Catherine Chabaud (WHIRLPOOL) crossed the Equator yesterday evening, and
has managed to close Wavre and Coville quite dramatically in the last week.
Her boat could have an advantage upwind in the Trades, and she hopes to
close her competitors over the next few days. Her water-maker is finally
dead, but she's managed to collect enough rainwater to survive to the finish

SLEEP AVERAGE - NEW Sleep report and charts updated :


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I'm hooning! We're doing 14 knots right where I want to go, its great to be
moving again. Annoying to see how far Mich has got away, but it was logical
that he would touch the breeze first, unless my easterly option threw up
something out of the ordinary. I had to try it.

I'm exhausted again. Its been an awful night, the wind has been changing a
lot. I've gone through every sail combination from the genoa and full main
to 2 reefs and the Solent. Every hour almost exactly its changed enough to
force a sail change. We've also had some big wind direction changes, and the
swell is coming from an awkward direction making it very wet onboard and
extremely uncomfortable for the boat and me. Waves are crashing on the deck
all the time, its really not too pleasant out here right now. The swell is a
sign of what is coming as well...

...looks like we're in for a real hammering in the next 36 hours, possibly
the strongest winds of the whole event.

Its been a long race. I'm looking forward to not having to make any more
decisions for a while. The constant pressure is so tiring.

I have a cargo ship near me, but I haven't been able to see it at all, so I
have to keep a constant lookout for it. I know he's there from the Active
Echo radar detector, but I don't know where exactly. Its not very relaxing.

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