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CoastWaterSports 2014

BT Global Challenge, fleet close after collision

by Bt Global Challenge Media on 20 Feb 2001
Spirit of Hong Kong leads the fleet but only 2 miles separates the first 6 yachts as Quadstone and Save the Children remain in Wellington following a start line collision.

As expected the wind died overnight hitting Norwich Union and Veritas badly with light winds and a strong foul tide, although they have picked up speed again now and are regaining some of their lost miles. The yachts further north, who initially lost miles getting there, have seen the biggest gains by sailing in stronger wind and less tide, although some of these gains are being lost as they also run out of wind.

The weather forecast suggests that the most favourable route is to the north of the direct line to Sydney, slightly away from the predicted centres of the high pressure. This should favour the more northerly yachts once they are away from the influence of the land, however during today the land should heat up enough to generate a day breeze benefiting the yachts closest to the coast.

Already there seems to be a split in the yachts with Norwich Union and Veritas staying south perhaps hoping for a day breeze, while the majority of the fleet are heading more to the north of the route. LG FLATRON are in-between following their usual tactic, which has worked well so far, of heading directly towards the finish and travelling fewer miles.

Following a serious collision, less than two hours after the start of the race, Quadstone and Save the Children returned to Wellington for haul outs and surveys to assess the damage. Quadstone skipper Alex Phillips had tried to duck Save the Children, which was on starboard tack but had been unable to get his yacht to bear away. The surveys should be finished tomorrow (Tuesday) but it is not clear when the yachts will be able to depart for Sydney.

The overall lead position is between Spirit of Hong Kong and LG FLATRON who will be concentrating on trying to beat each other but with the demise of Quadstone, 3rd place overall is up for grabs with 6 yachts within 3 points of each other. We can therefore expect continued close racing all the way to Sydney as long as the wind does not desert the fleet completely.

Latest rankings, 07:45 GMT - 19/02/01

1 Spirit of Hong Kong - 1066 miles to finish
2 LG FLATRON +0 miles to leader
3 TeamSpirIT +1
4 Logica +2
5 Compaq +2
6 BP +2
7 Olympic Group +3
8 Isle of Man +5
10 Norwich Union +19

Quadstone & Save the Children - returned to Wellington for repairs.

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