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Club Med ETA may be Sunday, maybe not

by Mer & Media on 1 Mar 2001
The last miles of the non-stop round the world course are proving to be amongst the most frustrating for Club Med, whose current lead of second placed Innovation Explorer was still more than 1017 miles at noon today. With just over 1456 miles to sail to the finish, the leader of The Race has been forced to sail more than 80 degrees from the desired course to keep in the wind and position itself for the best passage to the Straits of Gibraltar and the City of Marseilles.

A depression that has been luring the international crew further and further to the West to stay in better breezes is at the root of the frustration. Its passage across the Atlantic has been slowed to a crawl and until it moves East again the leader of The Race will not be able to make real distance towards the finish. Joined by satellite telephone this morning skipper Grant Dalton had this to say:

'It has been a really slow night. We are basically dealing with the remnants of a ridge of high pressure. Our ‘favourite’ depression has been slowed down on its route East. So to stay going fast we have had to go and hunt the wind down. We are sailing in Southerly winds and the shift to the South West with pressure just hasn’t come through for us yet. For quite a time last night we had to sail with almost no gain in distance towards the line just to keep repositioning ourselves for what we think will happen later. The forecast weather charts for the North Atlantic are now beginning to look more like what is really happening and because we are so reliant on these we have lost a bit of time.'

And on the approach to Europe caught in the middle of a winter storm: 'It was much colder on board last night, we are chewing up the latitude and so I suppose we have moved into another climate zone today. We have heard that there is a lot of snow in Marseilles, I really hope the weather will have cleared up by the time we get there.'

On the subject of Club Med’s arrival in Marseilles skipper Grant Dalton is still adamant about making predictions: 'This last weather problem has set us back about 12 hours so far and I could never rule out not seeing the same thing happening again. That is exactly why I hate playing the ETA game, you can look really stupid really quickly making estimates, and because these boats can go so fast it is rather easy to get time predictions badly wrong.'

Ranking on 28 Feb 2001 at 11:00:00 GMT

1.Club Med / dtf 1456.4 miles
2.Innovation Explorer / dtl 1017.6 miles
3.Team Adventure / dtl 5817.7 miles
4.Warta Polpharma / dtl 6327.7 miles
5.Team Legato / dtl 8558.9 miles

Retired - Playstation on January 14, 2001

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