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15 December 2000

Rhythm of the Race Back to full on high speed surfing, speeds over 20 knots Southern Ocean sailing with all the intensity of a shorter race.

Standings table 

Top 3

1.  PRB  47 South 71:4 East
2.  Sill 47:1 South 68:3 East + 124 miles 
3.  Aquitaine Innovations 48:4 South 63:2 East +310 miles

Fleet round up section

The fleet is beginning to split into some new distinct ranks.  PRB leads with Sill 124 miles back, a gain of 21 for PRB.

Aquitaine Innovations is alone in 3rd 310 miles from the lead. 

Active Wear leads the next group.  The next 3 boats are within 17 miles of Active Wear, on the distance to go figure.  Of all these boats, Active Wear is the fastest (17 knots) and the 2nd farthest north.  Kingfisher at 45:18 south latitude is the northern most boat.

VM Matťriaux has overtaken Voila Fr. and leads by 12 miles.   

Mike Golding is making excellent progress with Group 4 hurtling dead downwind in a strong depression.  He is ahead of the race record which is his goal after starting late. 

Javier Sanso's Old Spice is back to racing as Javier has fixed his broken diagonal.  He describes the method he used: "So from the knot in the 1 spreader the line goes to the block on 2 and then to my solent car and then to my pit winch, voila."

Skipper Communications

Mike Golding Group 4 "Itís 30 knots from a steady direction and the boatís going at 22 knots, Iím on the edge of going fully downwind. The front passed through very early this morning. Iím on a South going starboard gybe... . I spend 3 hours a day at the helm and theyíre the most relaxing periods for me, I make myself a hot drink in the thermal flask and have a cigarette, eat some biscuits...At the moment Iím repairing one of my autopilot systems, as itís good but every now and again, it throws a wobbly and loses the helm. We really trust our lives in those pilots as if youíre up on the foredeck and the boatís going fast, itís dangerous if anything happens."

Simone Bianchetti Aquarelle.com "The atmosphere is very romantic, very similar to where I live at this time of the year. North of Venice the sea colour is similar, not only the sun is romantic."

Catherine Chabaud Whirlpool "Itís very important that I donít get scared with the current positions and I do the route I have to follow! I send you loads of kisses from a 22 knot surf!"

Roland Jourdain Sill ""When I decided to do this race, I didnít think that it would be as on edge as this - the rhythm is still like that of a transat! Thankfully, weíre going downwind in the low pressure systems and quickly! Six or so hours can easily go by where you have no time to think about stuff too much!"

Ellen Macarthur Kingfisher "so far this morning. Unbelievable night...pretty fast - though sea has been really horrible. 40 knots of wind this am - though average 35 now. Hanging on. All for now."

Current weather conditions Leaders nearing a gap between depressions.  North winds for the top 2, backing to WNW for the boats in places 4-7.

Weather Forecast Next low pressure trending south.  Winds should be north and then back to the west as the next system takes affect.

What does it all mean

Back to expected Southern Ocean conditions.  With the top 2 out on their own, their pursuers need to hit weather calls to stay with them.