Monday Morning Digest

A quick look at everything from Indian Ocean storms to the Don Q Trophy for the Snipe class

" Violent motions in which Orange's 20 tons seem to be weightless. Breaking waves that flood the cockpits. The 20 tons just passes through it but not always at the right moment - the result a life raft taken away, despite the fact that it was secured strongly on the aft beam. The feeling is that everything can be torn to pieces if we don't slow down, which of course we do,but still with no sails we are doing more that 20 knots .

"No time for prose. What a fight! 60-knot squalls! White sea! Crossed sea! Unmanageable. Let’s cut the crap. Let’s calm it down. Pushed too hard on the gear for the past 48 hours. Forget the clock, operation: Save the gear. The record? We’ll see about that later."

The above report, logged by skipper Bruno Peyron and posted on the Orange website, http://www.maxicatamaran-orange.com/site/en/index2.cfm, vividly illustrates the conditions that the crew of Orange has had to deal with in the stormy stretch of the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and the Antarctic continent. At last report, the crew are slowly bringing the boat back up to pace as the wind and seas subside. Orange still holds a lead of 2064 miles on the pace of record holder Sport Elec.

As the conditions improved, so did the ease of typing and crewman Nick Moloney was able to share his impressions of the weather. "Our poor boat has been copping a hammering throughout this storm, the amount of water that has crossed our decks has been amazing. This whole scenario developed very quickly and has been so consistently rough. We have been trying to preserve ourselves and our Orange home but the seas have been un-co-operative. To heave to in such a course, in such a location was disappointing. We had very little option. We have become the meat in a system sandwich. The initial low that is creating the trouble and that passed us several days a ago has slowed and has given birth to another small but deep depression. A high moving in from the south has compressed the isobars thus giving us constant strong winds. We have been working on trying to get south lately and in the past hour have begun to feel the effect of the high. We had been doing speeds not in excess of 12kts due to the take off and bone jarring landing but are now in the high teens."

Oracle racing's last helmsman standing, Peter Holmberg, has won the Steinlager Line 7 Cup in Auckland. The match racing series, part of the Swedish Match Tour, is the second event of the series and a showcase for America's Cup helmsmen. Peter Holmberg also won the first event of this year's tour, the Bermuda Gold Cup. In second place was the other Holmberg, Magnus, a member of the Swedish Challenge.
For complete results: http://www.steinlagerline7cup.co.nz

John Kostecki's meticulously trained team aboard illbruck are clinging to a shrinking lead today as lighter winds bedevil the fleet. Going at it hammer and tongs for second place, and only 21 miles behind illbruck, are Assa Abloy and Tyco. After a good run at holding djuice off, Amer Sports Too has slipped back to last place, but only by a mile, and is 202 miles behind illbruck.

The bulk of the Volvo fleet has passed the East Caicos and are headed for compulsory waypoints at San Salvador, farthest east of all the Bahamian Islands, and Eleuthera Island. After passing through the Bahamas, the crews will be dealing with the Gulf Stream current and lighter winds as a high pressure area stalls over South Florida.

**George Szabo and Brian Janney had a great visit to the Bahamas ** for the final races of the Snipe Midwinter circuit, scoring four firsts in five races to win the Gamblin Trophy. They’d done the same thing two weeks before at the Midwinters in Clearwater, and placed second behind Andy Pimental and Carol Cronin at the Don Q, sailed out of Coconut Grove, Miami. The two wins and one second-place finish gave Szabo and Janney the overall Midwinter Circuit win. For full results, http://www.snipe.org

The wins were a little more evenly spread out for the Lightning Southern circuit. Steve Hayden won the Savannah Deep South regatta, held 3/9-10. Larry MacDonald claimed top slot at the Midwinters in Miami, held 3/12-13, and Jody Lutz took the Winter Championship, held two days later. For full results: http://www.lightningclass.org