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Club Media is fast... approaching Cape Horn

by Mer & Media on 10 Feb 2001
Club Med - Cold and wet, but very fast
Friday 9th February. Club Med continues to set record pace after bettering the 24 hour distance record five times yesterday. The final figure remains 655,13 miles in 24 hours, a record that will eventually be broken but not for some time. At noon today Club Med had a lead of 930 miles over second placed Innovation Explorer, with just 800 miles remaining before rounding Cape Horn and leaving the Southern Ocean.

New Zealand born skipper Grant Dalton described the scene this morning by satellite telephone: 'We have a lead of more than 900 miles right now but I don't think we'll break the magic 1000 mile barrier before the Horn. We will be at the Rock sometime over the weekend but we can't tell exactly when yet. It is getting lighter here now and we are finally slowing down. Over the last 29 hours we have been sailing this same record pace, 27 plus knots average. It is unbelievable to see the distance we have covered. We are still on the front of this depression. It is giving us a great beam reach. Innovation Explorer is on the back of the depression and is having to gybe as the wind would be straight downwind if they sailed straight at the mark.' Conditions are always unpleasant in the Southern Ocean and Club Med is not getting any respite: 'It is unbelievably wet here. Not from large amounts of water over the deck but because it is drizzling and has been for the last two days. It is bitterly cold and everything is damp, even my elbows and sleaves. With this kind of apparent wind blowing it just makes everything feel worse.' And on the general conditon of the boat and the crew, Dalton had this to say: 'Although the pace has been ridiculously fast, because it is a reach it has been relatively easy on the boat. I'd have to say easy on the crew too. The standby watch is down below, always a sign that things are going OK. In fact the only work we have done on deck in the last 24 hours is to shake a reef out.'
The next few days will see significant change in the routing for the leader of The Race. Instead of worrying about trying to get East as fast as possible, navigator Mike Quilter will be looking up the Atlantic to work on heading North again: 'Looking ahead around the corner we have maybe a good situation developing. We are basically going to get swept around the Horn by the depression we are in and should have fair winds all the way up the South East side of the South American continent, as far as Uruguay anyway. In the past it is this part of the round the world course I have had the most unpleasant time with. Just after Cape Horn and on the way to the South Atlantic High. It is often really rough with cold headwinds and dangerous confused seas. We may be luckier than during the last Whitbread I did. I really hope so...I think Innovation Explorer is going to get a real caning when they approach the Horn, maybe as much as 60 knots. Not nice.'

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