Thierry Dubois in Solidaires has snatched second place from Emma Richards’ Open 60 Pindar in the Around Alone Race

Thierry Dubois in Solidaires has snatched second place from Emma Richards’ Open 60 Pindar in the Around Alone Race while Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group-Armor Lux retains the lead.

The Class 2 fleet have sailed straight into steep seas in their first 24 hours back racing, and the conditions are beginning to take their toll. Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada has bent one of his tillers and it is threatening to break. “Fortunately I have two,” he said, referring to the double rudders he has on his boat, each with their own tiller. Brad van Liew, skipper of Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, has caught a head cold and is dealing with sore joints, hot and cold flashes and a stuffy head. ‘I would definitely not go to work today given the choice,’ he said in a satellite phone call. Unfortunately for Brad and the rest of the Around Alone sailors, there is no day off. They are on a 24/7 schedule without a break. To make matters worse he too is getting pounded by strong headwinds. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is sailing west with two reefs in the mainsail and a small staysail set. The sound of the yacht crashing into the steep seas could be heard during the call while Brad braced himself for each landing.

There are two different strategies developing among the Class 2 boats. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America and Spirit of yukoh have taken a long hitch out to the west, while the rest of the fleet are hugging the coast and heading south. The problem for all the yachts is that a ridge of high pressure has formed to the south of them. For now Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is still holding onto a slim lead, but if van Liew continues to sail west while his closest rival, Derek Hatfield, heads south, by morning the leaderboard will look quite different. Brad and Kojiro are taking a long view of the weather for Leg 2, and are positioning themselves for the trade-winds further to the south. Just as Bernard Stamm did a few days ago, these two skippers are banking on more wind to the west and hoping to get it before the boats inshore. As Brad penned it in an e-mail, ‘sometimes giving up the lead for a bigger gain down the track makes sense.’ Yes it does make sense unless the boats inshore are able to find some local wind off the land to scoot them through the high pressure and into the trade winds first.

Positions at 1400hrs UTC 24th October 2002

Class 1

1 Bobst Group Armor-Lux

2 Solidaires

3 Pindar

4 Hexagon

5 Ocean Planet

6 Tiscali

Class 2

1 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America

2 Spirit of Canada

3 BTC Velocity

4 Everest Horizontal

5 Spirit of yukoh

6 Bayer Ascensia