Illbruck is pulling away from her nearest rival Assa Abloy but there's still plenty of time for change

If the VOR fleet leaders Illbruck and Assa Abloy continue to pull away from Team News Corp, Tyco and Amer Sports One at their present rate over this 1,000 mile dash to Isle Trinidade, there is a real possibility of three distinct races within this final half of leg one to Cape Town.

Over the last six hours, the distance between Illbruck and Assa Abloy has increased by a further two miles (to 28 miles) while Team News Corp, in third, has fallen back a mile from Assa Abloy. Team SEB, in sixth, are 293 miles adrift of Amer Sports One.

As this sprint to the next waypoint is turning into a straight boat speed race, the navigators and meteorologists are starting to invest some time in their tactics for the race back across the Atlantic to South Africa.

“We are trying to position ourselves correctly for the race across the south Atlantic into Cape Town. The route could take us down to 41 degrees south but we will make our final decision within the next few days,” explained Team News Corp navigator Ross Field.

In the 1997-1998 Whitbread Race, the last section of the course was where leg one (and overall) winner EF Language (navigated by Assa Abloy’s Mark Rudiger) made her leg-winning move by splitting from the fleet and diving south into more breeze.

Perhaps with the most to gain by possibly making a split over the last few thousand miles could be Grant Dalton. “I think that we can be well satisfied with the way we have gone so far, well satisfied,” said Dalton of his position in the fleet. Amer Sports One is currently looking safe (barring breakage) for at least five points and Dalton maybe willing to gamble for more.

At the rear of the fleet, Djuice intend to rendezvous with their shore crew at Ilha Fernando de Noronha at around midnight tonight (GMT). The Norwegian team will anchor one mile offshore and spare parts to repair their damaged headboard car will be transferred by shore manager ‘BJ’ Grimholt, who has hired a local vessel.

Position Report, 12 October, 2001 1000hrs GMT