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The Race Club Med leads Innovation Explorer by 750 miles.

by Mer & Media on 18 Feb 2001
Sailing again in more reasonable conditions than
the previous two days, the giant Club Med catamaran was 750 miles closer to the finish
line at noon today than second placed Innovation Explorer.
Still with more than 4800 miles to sail to the finish in Marseilles, the Grant
Dalton-skippered entry in The Race was re-building some semblance of normality on
board after the last two days of wild sea conditions:

'By the middle of the day yesterday the conditions we had been battling with started to
abate, the wind dropped and the seas calmed down quickly. Now we are on port tack on
a long slow header out to the East. It isn't great for our progress to the finish but it is a
standard move in this part of the world to get to the Trades in an Easterly position before
tacking and sailing fast North again.'

The conditions took their toll on the crew but don't seem to have caused much distress
to the boat:

'We didn't break anything serious over the past few days, just a small rip in the mainsail
and a broken batten. It took an hour to repair it all.'

'With flat water and a regular motion to the boat again, sleep has come easily to the
off-watch crew now.'

'It is hot and sticky on board. The boat is drying out from weeks of totally saturation.
Where as a couple of weeks ago, even a couple of days ago, everyone gathered around
the kettle for that extra bit of warmth, today it is shirts off whenever possible and warm
sailing again.'

With regard to the second placed boat and their different approach to this part of the
world, Dalton had this to say:

'We've given up more than 300 miles to Innovation Explorer in the past three days. It's a
lot but often in the Atlantic the choices just aren't there. You have to sail with what you
have when you get there. They may well have different conditions to us when they come
through here but that is just the luck of the draw.'

'Looking further ahead, I don't think the South East Trades are going to be too powerful
for us and we may not pick up the pace again for a while. I think the late February finish
is just wishful thinking now. We'll see you in March.'
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