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2013 – 36 Hour Recap from The Expert

May 13, 2012

Well the last 12 or so have hours have indeed been exciting.  Thankfully it seems like the high pressure roadblock has eased a bit and the boats were able to reduce some mileage over the course of the night.  The pack that went slightly east; #115 Mare, #118 Bodacious Dream and #73 Toothface managed to end around the leader #101 Campagne de France and as such Mare and Bodacious Dream were the first to get the big spinnakers up and are steaming North. Toothface didn’t seem to have the pace of the newer boats but is still hanging tough.  These three lead boats have opened up a slight lead on the main pack, which is still tightly bunched and all seem to have their spinnakers flying.

In an interesting move, both #113 Partouche and #105 Eole Generation GDF Suez took a slightly more western route closer inshore overnight and seem to have picked up some more breeze.  This allowed them to push past #30 Initiatives and #109 Talan Bureau Veritas, both of whom had control over the western route but didn’t seem to protect the leverage they had.

With the breeze forecast to build from southwest it could be that these western boats are able to gain some mileage on the lead pack who are slightly east of the their line and force the leaders to cover.  On the most eastern front, #106 Gryphon Solo is slightly back but seems to be moving quickly and might be getting some more benefit from the Gulf Stream.

The next 12 hours looks to have building breeze so we could start seeing the boats that excel in downwind conditions start gaining a slight advantage. At almost the halfway point in the race, there really is not much separation between the boats and if they arrive at the entrance to New York Harbor this closely bunched the finish is going to be wild and hard to predict. There are multiple navigational roadblocks and large amounts of boat traffic that might end up having a big influence on who wins the first leg.

Stayed tuned for an update in 12 hours time.

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