THE QUEST TO RACE AROUND THE WORLD A SECOND TIME ON A 40FT MONOHULL

Race Commentary Archive: Transat 2004

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A Cat and Mouse Game
June 6, 2004

It's a game of cat and mouse as Joe Harris aboard Wells Fargo - American Pioneer and Kip Stone on Artforms deal with the vagaries of the wind in the middle of the Atlantic. During the night Artforms opened up the gap between the boats only to lose the wind early this morning while Joe kept the breeze and took back the miles. It's been that way for most of the race when first one boat has the advantage and then the other. With both boats approaching the halfway stage it looks like this back and forth is likely to continue all the way to Boston.

For the first time since the start both skippers are enjoying fair winds and it was a happy Joe Harris that checked in this morning. "I have had the spinnaker up all morning and we've been sailing at good speed on course," Joe said. "It feels really nice to have the boat level and not pitching around all over the place." Kip Stone on Artforms appeared to have less wind, but was maintaining his lead to the south and west of Wells Fargo - American Pioneer. "Perhaps it's time for me to do something different," Joe said after studying the weather and the relative position of his boat and the rest of the fleet. "Following Kip is not going to be the answer. I think I will head south." It's risky business to break with your closest competitor, but sometimes it's the right thing to do. Only a day or two will tell if this is a good move.

While the Open 50 boats battle it out there is a new leader in the Open 60 monohulls. Around Alone winner Bernard Stamm has taken over the top spot. This is especially good news for Joe who was on hand last Spring to see Bernard win the trophy for winning Class 1 of the Around Alone. "I am really happy that Bernard is on front," Joe said. "He is a superb sailor and a testament that hard work can pay off." Stamm, a Swiss sailor living in France, built his own boat and without a large budget won every leg of the last Around Alone. He is a terrific competitor with a huge heart and a smile for everyone that crosses his path. A bit like Joe except that Joe does not have the long tousled hair. Well perhaps he does. A week at sea without a shower and razor; who knows what he looks like. Stay tuned.

- Brian Hancock (great.circle@verizon.net)



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