The unfancied New Zealander sprints into the lead of the Around Alone fleet

Graham Dalton is leading the Around Alone fleet, according to a report this afternoon from Bernard Stamm. After leaving New York last night and bearing away northwards on a fast reach, Dalton was right on Stamm’s tail. Stamm is considered by many to be the race favourite, hugely more experienced than Graham Dalton, and his boat Bobst Group Armor Lux one of the lighter, faster Open 60s (pictured left). However, during the night Graham Dalton found better speed and passed to head the race.

It was a tiring night with many sail changes, says Stamm, who has used everything from the solent to the big spinnaker. “These are the sort of manoeuvres that take a lot of energy and I haven’t slept for more than ten minutes since we left,” he comments. Early this afternoon, Bobst Group Armor Lux was doing 15 knots in a 20-25 knot south-westerly, and sailing under main and gennaker.

Following the fleet has been complicated by a problem with position polling – working the day before the fleet left, but not now, apparently. The sailors themselves are equally in the dark about exactly where the others are, but Stamm says he is about 12 miles behind Dalton in Hexagon and that American sailor Bruce Schwab is in 3rd place some 20 miles behind him, so even at this stage it seems the fleet is already beginning to string out.