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Craftinsure 2012
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Short-Handed Sailing by Alastair Buchan
Short-Handed Sailing by Alastair Buchan

The Race for three boats will start again from Wellington

by Barry Pickthall on 18 Feb 2001
Week 6 Wrap - Stress and excitement simmers in Wellington

07:00 GMT TEAM LEGATO WARTA POLPHARMA
Position: 42 24'S; 167. 10'E 41 24'S; 174 43'E
Speed at time of satellite poll: 17.3 knots 0 knots
Average speed for last 4 hours: 14.7 knots 6.5 knots
Course: 72 Degrees Anchored off Wellington
Distance covered over 24 hours: 352 miles 155 miles
Distance between the two: +392 miles

With both Team Adventure and Warta Polpharma now in Wellington, Tony
Bullimore and his TEAM LEGATO crew have the best opportunity yet to climb up
the ranking list.

Warta Polpharma dropped anchor earlier today and did not intend to stay
longer than 3-4 hours - just long enough to have a new Satcom B transceiver
fitted. Team Adventure is set to re-start on Sunday when her 60-hour
penalty expires. It likely that she sets sail just as TEAM LEGATO is passing
through Cook Strait en-route to the Pacific.

So the next stage of the race to Cape Horn promises to be an enthralling
affair. TEAM LEGATO has proved to be faster than Warta Polpharma in these
conditions, having pulled back the best part of 1,000 miles after passing
the Cape of Good Hope. If her crew can continue that performance across the
Pacific, they could be 500 miles ahead by the time they pass back into the
Atlantic.

And what could happen to Team Adventure? She is proving to be 'the weakest
link' as one TV programme would put it. Will we say good bye to her before
Cape Horn?

At the front of the fleet, Club Med is gripped by calms 400 miles East of
Porto Alegre (South Brazil)and progressing painfully slowly towards the
Southeast Trades. Thanks to the accordion effect, Innovation Explorer is
reeling in twice as many miles as her nearest competitor by skirting round
to the east. But the smiles on the faces of Loïck Peyron's men are looking
rather tense because for tomorrow the weather charts suggest that they could
be experiencing the same conditions. But Elena Caputo is confident that
Roger Nilson, Innovation Explorer's navigator will find a solution. 'A
slight slowdown perhaps' she explained, 'but we should avoid the big zone of
calms'.
However, the problem of tearing sails continues to blight the second placed
boat. Last night it was the turn of the big gennaker to rip apart, forcing
the whole crew to assemble on deck for a long session of sewing, bonding and
reinforcing along the luff. Sails it seems, is the weakest link on this
boat.

Over the past week the distance between the two leaders has shortened but
not enough yet to trouble Grant Dalton. Before the current calms, his giant
catamaran has been facing difficult windward conditions and an awful
seaway - everything a multihull detests. 'We have tried all sorts of sail
combinations' explained Jacques Caraès, 'the least bad; three reefs and
staysail! Otherwise we'll smash the boat. We have chosen to slow down and
preserve Club Med'. The atmosphere is wet and man-breaking. The big cat is
bounding head into the waves, crashing on the crests before falling with
incredible brutality into the troughs in huge clouds of spray. The crew is
not able to get much rest in these conditions, and any maneuvering on deck
becomes perilous, especially at the foot of the mast. Vigilance is more than
ever essential. The order of the day has been to keep a mutual eye open for
each other. A wave could at any time bodily launch someone into the air as
it explodes through the trampoline...
But they should soon be out of this mess (about fifteen hours according to
Jacques). The famous Saint Helena High seems in effect to be organising a
nice corridor of wind for Club Med. A little windward work in a medium
breeze (15 knots) on the Western edge of these highs and the big blue cat
will once again be able to spread her wings, on a beam reach and make a dash
for the Equator.

In New Zealand, Cam Lewis has been supervising the work of the American
specialists flown in to rebuild the main beam fairing. 'A frustratingly smal
l problem for such a big boat' joked Lewis. 'We hope to be on our way again
on Sunday evening, after having carried some other minor repairs, at the
foot of the mast and to the sails'. In brief...


Wellington
Lots of Kiwis have been pressing around Cam Lewis' big cat. Not only Kiwis
but also numerous competitors from the BT Global Challenge, a race round the
world
against the prevailing winds on monohulls, which will be setting off again
on Sunday.
Quote/unquote...
Cam Lewis (Team Adventure): 'The surface to be repaired is about 2 square
metres. The damage is not as serious as expected. The structure is not
affected. The four specialist workers worked all last night. We will be
ready by the end of our 60 hours penalty.'

Le Mignon believes...
'We would like to reduce our gap with Club Med to 500 miles before the
Equator', declared Loïc Le Mignon, one of Innovation's crew. 'The North
Atlantic will be better for options. In the South, you have to above all
avoid the pitfalls of the anticyclones.'

Grant Dalton (Club Med): 'I warned the boys after rounding the Horn; the
passage along the coast of Brazil can be difficult. We passed behind a low
that whipped up a nasty sea. We were first of all slowed down for a lack of
wind, then the breeze came back but the sea was so choppy that we didn't put
on much sail, to spare the boat. On board it was real hell, the boat was
slamming so much. We couldn't even cook for fear of scalding ourselves. It
was even impossible to dial on the telephone, we would automatically dial a
wrong number!'

Jaroslav Kaczorowski (Warta Polpharma): '100 miles from Wellington. The wind
is dying under the New Zealand coast. We will be limiting our stop to a
minimum. Just time enough to repair our antenna, 3 or 4 hours max! Team
Legato has closed within 500 miles. We don't want to waste any time...'

Leading positions at 07:00 GMT today
1. Club Med 4,870 miles to finish - Rounded Cape Horn 11.02.01
2. Innovation Explorer +753 miles - Cape Horn 12.02.01
3. Team Adventure 6,447 miles - Reached Wellington 15. 02. 01
4. Warta Polpharma 6,444 miles - Reach Wellington 16. 02. 01
5. Team Legato 6,836 miles
6. PlayStation - RETIRED 14.01.01

For further details, pictures and daily audio feed from the boat, contact
Barry Pickthall at the Team Legato Race office
Mobile Phone: +44 (0) 7768 395719
Office +44 (0) 1243 555561 Fax: +44 (0)1243 555562
E.mail: ppl@mistral.co.uk Web site: www.teamlegato.com

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