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1 February 2001 Issue #
By Ike Stephenson
Today's Sailing News
The Race:Loick Makes the Call
In the next 48 hours Innovation Explorer skipper Loick Peyron will
have to decide whether to stop in Wellington New Zealand to pick up a new head sail and daggerbord. A stop would get his boat needed new equipment. It would also put him farther behind Club Med. Not stopping would leave open the possibility of a gain should Club Med make a stop.
While Loick brainstorms a call, the fleet has seen a rich get richer scenario in the last 24 hours. Top boat in the standings and the
last 24 hours is Club Med. They lead by 816 miles and sailed 565 miles in 24 hours.
Club Med is within a day of passing through the Cook Straits between the islands of New Zealand. Here's what Grant Dalton expects: "It is still a way off and a lot can change but normally you would expect to roar downwind through the Straits from West to East."
Dalton continues to be impressed by his Race Class cat. Here he
compares it to his previous circumnavigations: "The amazing thing with these boats compared to Whitbread monohulls is the ability to travel at the same speed as the weather systems. If we hadn't needed to turn left to sail up to the Cook Straits we could have stayed with this depression all the way to Cape Horn."
Innovation Explorer chalked 450 miles, the 2nd best rate in the
fleet. The team has not gotten any help from the weather as Club Med has had no problems with high pressure which would slow her down.
Team Adventure the America based challenger with now a mostly French crew covered 397 miles in 24 hours. Team Adventure is winding down
a phase of mostly upwind sailing. The next phase will have them on a direct heading to the Cook Straits gaining speed as they hook into westerly winds.
Warta Polpharma had the slowest day of the fleet covering 337 miles.
Fellow tail ender Team Legato has a pride boosting run of 413 miles which ranked 3rd best in the fastest fleet ever. Team Legato Tony Bullimore gives a happy report, "We are surfing along at 20-25 knots in perfect conditions. It is fantastic. The boat is behaving beautifully and morale within the crew is sky high."
New Zealand will be the focus of The Race. Native skipper Grant
Dalton will sail through in prime condition. It also maybe the site of a crucial pit stop for Innovation Explorer.
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Today's Sailing News
Muskegon Wather: January 2001
We started the New Year having already experienced considerable
wintery conditions. December was winter like before the calendar turned officially to winter.
The first month of 2001 was not similar. In many ways it was spring
before the calendar said so.
The month was exceptionally warm. There were only 7 days of below normal warmth. The average temperature was 28.2° which is 4.8° above the norm.
Warmest day of the month was Tuesday the 30th with a high of 42°. This warmth was brought by a huge weather system that stretched from the Rockies to the Eastern seaboard. That day Muskegon was on the warm east side. So warm, that Marquette in the UP had a
temperature of 43°.
The low temperature for the month was 2° on Tuesday the 2nd. In
fact the first 3 days of the month were below normal as the December cold
Precipitation wise January was a dry month. .76" of rain fell,
well below the norm of 2.34". Muskegon received only 4.9" of snow.
This is an extreme drop from the typical snow fall of 38.4".
The upcoming months have snow norms of 19.3" and 12.5". January's lack of snow could mean the heavy snow season is over.
The average wind speed of 10.1 knots was below the norm of 10.6. Windiest day was the 10th with an average of 16.8 knots.
The majority of winds were from the south. Of the 16 days of South Winds, only 2 saw below norm tempts. There were only 7 days with
north or east winds. This indicates that not many weather systems approached from the colder north.
All of these factors combined to reduce the amount of snow on the
ground from a high of 11" on the 3rd and 4th to a mere inch by months
For boaters who want a higher water level the combination of warmth and dryness is not positive. For folks who choose Michigan for its winters, January was also a disappointment. It will be interesting to see
if February brings back winter.