giovedì 27 ottobre 2011

Global Ocean Race - Fleet leaders close in on Cape Town

After 31 days at sea in Leg 1, the lead boat in the double-handed, Class40 Global Ocean Race (GOR) is within 390 miles of land. In pole position, Ross and Campbell Field with BSL are currently averaging 11 knots in the 12:00 GMT position poll on Wednesday with Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron on Campagne de France 74 miles behind in second place. North-west of the leaders by 1,500 miles, the main pack of four Class40s are spread over 360 miles with the variety of options taken to avoid the high-pressure system blocking their route to Cape Town coming into play as Conrad Colman and Hugo Ramon in third on Cessna Citation run into headwinds furthest east while Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire with Phesheya-Racing and Financial Crisis of Marco Nannini and Paul Peggs have north-easterly breeze. Furthest north, the Dutch duo of Nico Budel and Ruud van Rijsewijk on Sec. Hayai are closing in, currently making the best speed in the group.

With an ETA at the Cape Town finish line of early on Friday morning, the Fields aren’t easing off: “We have changed spinnakers more times in four hours than we have for the whole trip,” reports Ross Field having recovered from a slow few hours on Tuesday. “We’ve examined weather maps, cursed the weather gods, examined the boat to see if we had something around the keel and managed to wipe the boat out with a gust of wind from nowhere.” BSL has been averaging 11 knots over the past few days and the pressure will continue until their Verdier-design Class40 is moored at North Wharf in the V&A Waterfront Marina. “Both of us are up all night, sharing the driving - Campbell is doing a great job - talking to each other so we don't go to sleep and constantly trimming sails,” explains Ross. “I thought the trip into Cape Town was going to be easy - it's not!”

As the wind for the leaders moved from south-westerly, further west, Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron were counting down the miles to the finish on Campagne de France: “There is a little less than a Fastnet Race in distance to go to the finish line, but that is nevertheless 600 miles of open ocean remaining,” reported Miranda Merron on Wednesday morning. “BSL deserve their place, but spare a thought for the four boats behind us who were not that far off until the weather gate closed firmly between us and them. They really will have earned their beer by the time they get to Cape Town.”

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