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6 June 2000 Issue # 210
Today's Sailing News
Olympic Sailing: Soling Trials
With two of 3 round robins complete the trials to select the USA's Olympic Soling team are following the form book. Generally, the higher the ranking going in, the better the results.
Pre event favorite Jeff Madrigal and his team have 16 points. This gives them a 2 point edge over 2nd place skipper Ed Baird and crew. The two point edge is a result fo Madrigal's wins over Baird.
The other teams looking semi final bound are skippered by Andrew Horton and Mark Mendenblatt. Both have 10 points. Due to taking 2 of the 3 matches between the pair Horton will most likely finish 3rd.
The 8 boat fleet will conclude the 3rd round robin today. A lay day will occur on Wednesday. Thurday begins the semi finals with all signs pointing to a Madrigal v. Bair finals.
The fleet of single handers is 43 hours into the Europe 1 transat race. At least at the front of the fleet there have been no break aways.
Leading the race is the trimaran Foncia skippered by Alain Gautier. Gautier reports: " The sea is worse than the wind and my boat is taking a battering by the former not the latter. It is the kind of sea where boats break up but the wind is softening right now." All but 1 of the 60 foot trimarans is taking the direct route to Newport. The exeception is Marc Guillemot sailing Biscuits La Triniatain who took a southerly tack. This perhaps gave him more speed, as he has .1 knot average speed advantage over Gautier. It did not get him to the front.
Winds are currently in the 20's from the north. They should begin lessening and going behind the fleet.
Approximately 150 miles back of the monohulls is the leader of the Open 60 monohull fleet. PRB sailed by Michel Desjoyeaux lead the monohull fleet. There are several boat inclduing Kingfisher (Ellen Macarthur) Aquitaine Innovations (Yves Parlier) and Whirlpool (Catherine Chabaud) quite near PRB.
The monohulls have formed two groups. To the North are such boats as PRB and Aquitain Innovations. More to the south are Kingfsiher, Whirlpool and Sill. These groupings maybe a preview of how the skippers will tackle the upcoming high pressure.
For all these skippers the key is to find a fast way past the high pressure ahead. This system now reads @ 1031 milibars. A detour to the north looks to hold better winds.
Along with playing the weather, competitors must take each other into account when deciding which route to take. Knowing where other competitors are has been made difficult by problems race organizers are having in reporting boat postions. Ellen Macarthur says that this lack of position information: "... is like playing chess with the lights off!"
Even though the competitors may not have all the information it is still apparent that all are close together. Many miles and crucial decisions await before leaders become clearer.
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