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Battle for 6th Outlook
With the first five semifinal spots either officially or just about officially locked up the battle is now all on for 6th place.
There are four teams within 4 points of 6th place in the standings. 6th place France has 46 points, 7th place Spain has 44, 8th place Abracadabra has 43 and in 9th is Young America with 42.
Spain which has held 6th for much of the round has the least chance at making the semis. They have only 2 races left. The most points they could accumulate is 62. Abracadabra has 3 races left and can score up to 70 points. However, her opponents are: Team Dennis Conner, Prada, and Nippon. None of those races are easy.
Young America has 4 races left. They could end up with 78 points if they win their last 4 races. At this point a 4 race streak would seem unlikely. Young America has consistently made mistakes. This has led to rumors of financial problems, crew changes and already in the bag charter arrangement should Young America not make the semis. Skipper Ed Baird's view: "I had a friend with a great expression: 'Dance with the one that brung ya!' If you are working hard at improving every day, just making a change for the sake of change is rarely going to be the right move."
France also has 4 races left and has a maximum points potential of 82. France has had the best record in round 3 at 4-2. The French team has seen some positive internal changes. Now navigator Marcel Van Tries gives a glimpse at the good chemistry: "The presence of Luc Gelluseau on board is keeping the boat going at 100 percent at all times."
Essentially Young America and France have the most opportunities to gain points. With the way the standings sit, Young America must win one more race than France. The finale to this battle could be a delicious winner take all contest as France and Young America are paired on the final day.
Finally, in beating Young America, America One suffered yet another spinnaker blowout. This makes at least 4 times one of their lime green kites has bit the dust. Skipper Paul Cayard addressed this saying: "Yes, I'm concerned. It's not bad luck. It's just something we've gotta clean up on our rig, basically." This is the first time the cause has been addressed. Cayard appears to absolve the sails and blame the rig.
Although this is pure speculation America One did have a design contest for a jib halyard lock system. Could it be this that is ripping the spinnakers?
For complete results see: (C)update Daily.
Americans ready for Round the World races
Currently there are three American based efforts aiming to compete in singlehanded around the world races. All are based on the West Coast.
The Made in America Foundation is currently building boat utilizing the COVE method. COVE signifies, core, veneer and epoxy. Skipper is Bruce Schwab, with the boat being designed by Tom Wylie. Building is by Schooner Creek Boat works.
While Made in America's boat is being built a final title sponsor has not yet been arranged. Made in America's website is at: http://rigworld.com/
One of the efforts has just launched their boat. Sponsored by Ascend Communications and Lucent Technologies this Globe 50 is designed by Jim Antrim. Skipper will be Bob Gay, a solo trans pac veteran. Information and pictures of the boat are available at the Globe 50 website.
While those two campaigns aim for the November 2000 Vendee Globe Brad Van Liew's effort focuses on the 2002-2003 Around Alone. Van Liew's effort is Mission America. Van Liew sailed Balance Bar to a 3rd place in the last Around Alone.
Van Liew and his team have secured several sponsors, but are also searching for a title sponsor. Mission America plans to splash their new Open 60 December of 2000. The boat will make its competitive debut in the summer of 2001. Mission America has a website also.
These projects give hope that an American Sailor can finally win one of the singlehanded around the world classics. The 1998-99 Around Alone was won by a non Frenchman for this first time. The Vendee Globe has had exclusively French winners.
It's been proven that last minute campaigns are not winners in offshore singlehanded racing. All three of these teams are starting early enough that victory is definitely an option.