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Rhythm of the Race Still quick offwind sailing down the Atlantic. Leaders are reaching the Cape Verde Islands sailing at double digit speeds. Not much movement in the standings. Speeds of the leading 60's are similar with PRB and EPB/Gartmore above 14 knots, with others from 13.0 to 13.5 knots.
1. Aquitiane Innovations 14:5 North 22:2 West
2. PRB Michel Desjoyeaux 15:0 North 23:1 West + 26 miles
3. Active Wear Marc Thiercelin 16.2 North 22:3 West +71
Fleet round up section
Overnite Bernard Stamm and Armor Lux Bizac Foie Gras had some major problems. It began around midnight when both his autopilots failed simultaneously. With no pilots he had to hand steer. As he hand steered the boat accidentally jybed. The mainsheet became entangled with his tiller and his steering system was ripped off the deck. He can't fit his emergency system as the fittings it attaches to are broken. About repair, Stamm says, "But I think I may not have the right equipment to do the job in hand, I just canít see how I can do it. It was a specially constructed piece of carbon."
Mike Golding and Team Group 4 have restarted after fitting a new rig. Golding says, "I am looking at it in the corner of my eye, not really trusting it still. Itís a good rig but with no conclusion on why the other one broke, I am more sceptical."
Of the two boats who had remained near Africa one remains. Dominque Wavre has bailed out. At last report he was sailing a course of 257į almost perpendicular to the leaders.
Yves Parlier lead as the top boats reached the Cape Verde Islands. He put the islands to starboard. PRB and Active Wear took them to port and will sail amongst the islands.
Javier Sanso Old Spice ". Iím going to keep going South and turn West at Capo Verde."
Didier Munduteguy DDP 60eme Sud "Itís a new experience for me to be alone for so long on a boat...something I have always wanted to do for a long time now."
Dominique Wavre UBP ". Yesterday I stayed at the helm for 6 - 7 hours just for the pleasure of it. Iím well rested and on good form."
Catherine Chabaud Whirlpool "I never chose to stay so near to the African shores. The weather conditions looked to say that to reposition yourself West would cost dearly."
Yves Parlier AI "The average speed between the Canaries and Capo Verde has been exceptional. I havenít had to change my tack at all. I must have set a record between the Canaries and Capo Verde!"
Marc Thiercelin Active Wear ". I am going along at an average of 12 knots, and have had full main sail up since Cap Finisterre with staysail and large gennaker."
Ellen Macathur Kingfisher "An odd type of day
really. Good news in the way that I managed to get two good 30 minute sleeps,
bad in the way that its ended by a several hour gybe which is generally 90
degrees from where I want to go."
Current weather conditions NE by E winds for the boats to the W, NE winds for the pair closer to Africa.
Weather Forecast Per race leader Yves Parlier, "The situation ahead isnít clear, Thereís a high pressure building up on one side, and a calm patch on the other."
What does it all mean
The fleet is flying along. Eventually things will
slow as they run down the latitude to the Doldrums. Choices made to sail
west or east at high speeds will bring skippers to their chosen route through
the Doldrums. Wrong choices could see bigger distance gaps open up.