In extremely light winds the 14-strong Archipelago Raid fleet crossed the start line of the in Stockholm Harbour this morning

A total of 14 catamarans crossed the line at Gustavsberg’s Marina outside Stockholm at 0800 today for the start of the Archipelago Raid.

In extremely light winds which forced some of the fleet to paddle to the line, last year’s winner Magnus Woxén with co-skipper Rodney Ardern from New Zealand were first away.

Birthday girl Ellen MacArthur (27 today) and Nick Moloney on Omega had a conservative start and had to carry out a pit stop shortly after the start to repair a rudder. Not surprisingly they were last to sign in at the second check point at Kymmendo island at 1305 – 50 minutes after the leading boat Sogeti. The stressed team hurried away from the island to catch up with the leading boats ahead.

The battle is currently really close between the first four teams. Team Sogeti and Tidermans are fighting neck and neck, tightly chased by Nokia/Adilstam and Nokia Kempff. Navigation plays a great part in the race and the local teams have a huge advantage knowing their way around the thousands of rocks and islands.

The winds are still light at around 2-8 knots but the sea breeze is kicking in which should allow the fleet to reach Nynashamn tonight – 53 miles south Stockholm. Here the sailors will have a chance to eat and rest during the four hour compulsory stop before they tackle the tricky northbound navigation by night.

Positions (at Check Point 2 at Kymmendö Island Between 12.14 and 13.04 GMT)

Sogeti Magnus Woxén (S) and Rodney Ardern (NZ) – Woxén winner 2002 with Klabbe Nylöf

Tidermans Anders Lewander (S) and Calle Hennix (S)

Nokia / Adilstam Fredrik Adilstam (S) and Tomas Marimon (S) – 2nd 2002

Nokia / Kempff Joakim Kempff (S) and Magnus Nordström (S)

Jobman Workwear Björn Hansen (Åland) and Björn Österberg (S)

Addicom Mikael Leksell (S) and Pontus Johansson (S)

ASSA ABLOY Neal McDonald (GB) and Lisa McDonald (USA) – 3rd 2002

Playground Petter Åström (S) and Jonas Engstedt (S)

GB Glace Bengt Jacobson (S) and Jan Schiratzki (S)

Nynäs Havsbad Thomas Östergren (S) and Tore Lewander (S)

Macfreeze Anders Tengbom (S) and Fred Wikström (S)

Suunto Stefan Engstrand (S) and Björn Scherrer (S)

Realsailing Fredrik Hansen (S) and Christopher Ringhagen (USA/S)

Omega Ellen MacArthur (GB) and Nick Moloney (AUS)