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The Race...Team Legato & Warta Pharma struggling

by Barry Pickthall on 28 Feb 2001
BULLIMORE & Co still struggling - but so are the Poles!

As Tony Bullimore and his TEAM LEGATO crew struggle to beat one extreme of
weather in the South Pacific, their Polish rivals on Warta Polpharma are
battling against the other.
TEAM LEGATO has covered just 106 miles during the past 24 hours as the crew
take the calculated gamble of sailing on an east,nor'easterly course towards
the promise of better winds tomorrow instead of heading southeast into
strong headwinds. Robbie Burns, a member of the St James's Yachting team
coordinating the weather routing for TEAM LEGATO explains: 'Our plan is to
stay on an ENE course that will take the boat around the top of a low just
ahead of them. The alternative was to continue SE in favourable winds that
will rapidly back in 18 hours time to 45 kt headwinds and big seas. Although
they have slowed down on this new course they will at least make it to
fresher winds around a big high to the East tomorrow. With 6 crew on board
it's not the best plan to stuff them into gale force headwinds and damage
them or the boat. It's pretty exposed down there and I have an upper wind
limit I am trying to keep them out of - hence the change in plan. The plan
has to remain fluid as the weather systems don't conform exactly to the long
range forecasts'.

Bullimore might have expected the gap between themselves and Warta Polpharma
to widen 3-400 miles, but the Poles are currently battling with a 50 knot
storm that has slowed their progress considerably and caused some sail
damage. Crewman Jarek Kaczorowski told race organisers yesterday
'Everything is sodden.. Our sleeping bags are as damp inside as outside and
you have to be extremely tired to sleep in them. It's impossible to dry them
because it is constantly raining and mountains of salt water wash over the
decks. The waves are 8 to 10 metres tall at the moment! To makes things
worse, a 50-60 knot wind is on the way from the south-west. We are about 5
days from Cape Horn. We hope that this will be the last strong gale in the
Pacific. We're exhausted!'

As a result, Warta Polpharma has gained only 200 miles from TEAM LEGATO over
the past 2 days, and with their Raytheon speedo now recording double digits
once more, Bullimore an his crew remain optimistic that this light weather
gamble will eventually pay better dividends. 'With the weather systems
constantly changing down here, you have to be guided by what is likely to
happen not later today, but in 3-4 days time. That's why we rely on the
advice of our weather routers' Tony explained by satellite phone. We don't
want to finish up on the wrong side of a Low pressure system '

Leading positions at 03:00 GMT today
1. Club Med 1,937miles to finish - Rounded Cape Horn 11.02.01
2. Innovation Explorer +802 miles - Cape Horn 12.02.01
3. Team Adventure 5,942 miles - Left Wellington 19. 02. 01
4. Warta Polpharma 6,301 miles - Left Wellington 17. 02. 01
5. Team Legato 8,349 miles - Left Wellington 21. 02. 01
6. PlayStation - RETIRED 14.01.01

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