There is a Battle Royal developing mid-fleet of the Portimão Global Ocean Race as Team Mowgli holds onto a slim lead over Desafio Cabo de Hornos, and both boats are chasing down the leading single-hander, Michel Kleinjans on Roaring Forty.
by Brian Hancock
Since rounding the Recife Gate just 24 hours ago the gap between Jeremy Salvesen and David Thomson on Team Mowgli, and Felipe Cubillos and José Muñoz on Desafio Cabo de Hornos has narrowed to just 4 miles on a distance to go basis with the British team holding a slim advantage. In fact at the earlier poll the distance to go number was less than a mile between them but Desafio Cabo de Hornos has cracked sheets a little and given up some of their windward berth. Both boats have come back from a deficit of well over a hundred miles on Roaring Forty, to just 70 odd at the 15:20 UTC poll. It’s all good stuff as the fleet is in a free fall south.
The strategy for the boats now is to get south as quickly as possible. They are all running the razors edge between cutting distance by sailing closer to the high pressure area, or sailing further in steadier winds. While traditionally the South Atlantic High dominates the weather for this stage of the race, like most of the weather around the world these days, things are not that easy to predict. There is a large ridge of high pressure to the south of the leading boats with a fairly deep low formed off the Brazilian coast near Ilhabela, the South American stopover for the race. As these two systems play against each other it’s going to make for some interesting tactics. At the front of the fleet, the Germans aboard Beluga Racer may indeed be best placed to take advantage of the changing conditions, but only time will tell.
Further to the north Nico Budel on Hayai has opened up a sizable gap on the South Africans on Kazimir Partners. Just two days ago the boats were less than four miles apart. Hayai now has a respectable 50 mile advantage and is sailing fast toward the Recife Gate. Both Hayai and Kazimir Partners are expected to pass the Recife Gate this weekend and join the rest of the fleet in their tussle with the South Atlantic High. http://www.portimaoglobaloceanrace.com/
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7:10 PM Fri 31 Oct 2008 GMT
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