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Sailing Daily NewsPage

Published Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

29 October 1999

Issue # 81

Transat Jacques Vabre

Developments in the multihull fleet are the top news from the Jacques Vabre transat.  One, the multihulls have had 150 miles lopped off their course.  Rather than heading to an island waypoint off Nicaragua the trimarans will head south to Barbados before finishing in Columbia.  This should keep them away from a developing tropical storm.  Second, Fujicolor is sailing with tremendous pace.  For the last 360 miles they have averaged 22.5 knots.  Their lead is 78 miles over Foncia.  Foncia should be making a pit stop to repair damage to her starboard float today.  This stop is expected to be a couple of hours in duration.  With Groupama only 49 miles back Foncia has little margin for error.

The monohulls are still led by Whirlpool with a 125 mile lead over Sobedo.  Whirlpool's lead seems steady.  Catherine Chabaud is still pushing Whirlpool hard saying, "During the night I had hallucinations. Luc and I change position at the helm every hour and a half at night so as to stay effective."  However, Herve Jan on 2nd place Sobedo says, "But now the game is wide open and we might catch her."  So far, there have been no signs of this prediction occurring.

Up to 3rd is Sill Enterprises.  From Sill, Jean Le Cam says, "We now have two boats to catch up with but there's still a long way to go." In 4th place is Marc Thiercelin's Somewhere.  Thiercelin has noted a disturbing trend: "Only one thing sure, I'm starting to get a bit demoralized when I see the performance of my boat. As soon as I go back to France I will put the boat back in the yard for a complete overhaul." Thiercelin maybe onto something as Jean Le Cam reports that Sill Enterprises passed Somewhere under main only. Thiercelin goes onto comment, "Today it's my 39th birthday and like two years ago in this same race and last year in the Around Alone, I'll feast it at sea. I've done this since 1989!"  A year ago Thiercelin was sailing Somewhere in the Around Alone on Leg 1.  He was 3rd, 47 miles back of the leader.  

One of the boats ahead of Somewhere was Team Group which in this race trails Somewhere by 53 miles.  Next is Aquitaine/Kingfisher.  Ellen Macarthur reflects on the race saying, "I contemplate how we have progressed to find freedom and not through technology, but through the simplest things in life, through human endeavour."  The final Class I boat is Gartmore/First Call 802 miles back of the leader.  From Gartomre Alex Thomsen reflects that their southerly push was wrong.  He gives insight into how a wrong decision came to be made: "We were so sure that we were doing the right thing, it didn't occur to us that we could be wrong. We were both very tired at that point from the pre race build up and the first 4 days racing, however be both should know better and are sorely disappointed."  

Class II is now led by Pindar by 98 miles over Spirit of the Race.

Soon both fleet leaders will be under 1000 miles to the finish.  Earliest finishes are not expected until1  November.  With many of the boats close together, a crew that can shake fatigue think clearly and sail fast can still do some moving up.

ISAF Women's Match Racing Championship

Currently underway this regatta is being sailed in J-22's in Genoa Italy.  24 teams are sailing.  Defending champion Betsy Alison of the USA is attempting to defend her title.

Top performances in the first round robin are as follows.  Group A: Shirley Robertson 4 points, Mane Klek 4 Points.  Group B: K. Zuiderbaan 4 points, Sharon Ferris 4 points.  Group C: Dorte Jensen 5 points, Malin Kallstrom 4 points.  Group D: Betsy Alison 5 points, Paula Lewin 3 points.

Racing continues with Round Robin 2.  After this the field will be cut to 8 boats for the quarterfinals.

Note that both Robertson and Lewin are nominees for the Torresen Sailing Site Sailor of the Year award.  You may cast you vote for this award by clicking here.

Playstation= Code Yellow

Steve Fossett and his Playstation crew remain  code yellow to start.  This means favorouable weather to break the Atlantic record is expected in 4 to 6 days. Current predictions are that 1-5 November is the general weather window, while 3 November is the specific date looked at.  Next Wednesday NW-NNW winds of 20-25 knots are expected which would get Playstation off strong. Should Playsation change to Code Green we should expect a departure within 48 hours.


The postponement rule that caused so much trouble in Round 1 was slightly amended at a meeting the competing yachts.  Now competitors may still request a 45 minute postponement if they become disabled.  Such delay is subject to inspection by officials, and supposedly can't be protested if denied.  This was not the case in Round 1 as two races were resailed when postponements weren't granted.

The change to the rule is that a yacht can't request postponement once the 5 minute to start gun has been fired.  This would also prevent a team facing a bad start from trying to gain a postponement.

At least one challenger, America True put forth a proposal to do away with the postponement clause.  This was defeated.

The bottom line is that this clause is unusual for sailing and will not exist as a fall back during the actual Cup match.  Only Stars and Stripes and Prada sailed all races in Round 1 without a breakdown.  If the challengers expect to win, they will need to significantly improve reliability or face the prospect returning to New Zealand as challengers.  America One skipper Paul Cayard seems to realize this saying, "It's gonna be rough out here in the next four months and we have to be able to sail in conditions like today and yesterday without having damage if we intend to win the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup. It's facing up to reality."