At sea. Skandia’s duel on the Grand Banks Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 June 2004
It's a case of six of one, half-a-dozen of the other for Nick Moloney and Conrad Humphreys in the Transat race. At the last poll yesterday evening before the nightly information black-out, the British yacht Hellomoto had a small edge. The pair then spent yesterday racing within shouting distance but at the 1100 GMT position report today Skandia emerged ahead in fourth place by 16.5 miles.see the image taken by Conrad on board Hellomoto on

"I expect Conrad to catch-up again," said an exhausted Nick this morning (Wednesday). He hasn't slept since yesterday morning and admits with Conrad so close, "it‚s pretty hard to relax." These two yachts last duelled to the finish in the 2002 Route du Rhum. Skandia (in her previous guise) won. Could it be 2-0 into Boston?

Nick's lead this morning is despite another big wipe-out overnight. He was caught out by small increases in the breeze that eventually overpowered the autopilot. At the time Skandia was making fast progress under full mainsail and code E in 25-30 knots of breeze. "I was just thinking to myself how well the autopilot was the sailing the boat and I wiped out," recounted Nick.

The physical effort it took to get Skandia under control, putting a double-reef in the mainsail, left him breathless. He now has a sore throat, not helped by the chilly temperatures. To top a tough 24 hours, Skandia later appears to have struck a submerged object, going from 12 knots to 4 in seconds. Several Transat skippers have reported collisions with whales in this race, although Nick is unsure what Skandia hit. There appears to be no damage.

This morning Skandia is making 15 knots boat speed in 20 knots of breeze. If Nick can continue to fend off Hellomoto, the next target is third-placed Frenchman Dominique Wavre on Temenos, 121 miles ahead with 792 miles to sail to Boston, an achievable goal given the long range forecast conditions which
indicate some holes in the breeze in which any of the boats ahead could get stuck in.
Briton Mike Golding continues to lead the Open 60 class. His yacht Ecover is 28.2 miles ahead of Kiwi Mike Sanderson on Pindar. Golding had 737 miles to sail to Boston at 1100 and was making an extra knot of boat speed on the New Zealander.

Three 60-foot trimaran's, all French, have now finished the Transat. Winner Michel Desjoyeaux on Geant smashed 38 hours off Francis Joyon's record and 2000 winning time. He completed the 2,800 miles from Plymouth to Boston in eight days, eight hours, 29 minutes and 55 seconds at an average speed of 13.61 knots. The second and third boats, Thomas Coville's Sodebo and Franck Cammas, Groupama both eclipsed the previous record.

IMOCA positions 1100 GMT

Name / Skipper / Lat / Long / Dist

1. Ecover / Golding / 42 28.72'N / 54 19.64'W / 735.5 to finish
2. Pindar AlphaGraphics / Sanderson / 43 06.96'N / 53 37.80'W / 28.2 behind leader
3. Temenos / Wavre / 42 31.52'N /52 54.56'W / 55 behind leader
4. Skandia / Moloney / 43 44.16'N / 50 09.88'W / 177.7 behind leader
5. Hellomoto / Humphrey's / 43 42.76'N / 49 47.24'W / 194.1 behind leader
ABD Cheminées Poujoulat – Armor Lux / Stamm
ABD PRB / Riou
ABD Virbac / Dick

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Helen King
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 June 2004 )
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