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Tight finish in Regatta Rubicon

Bernard Stamm in Bobst was closing in on the leaders
Bernard Stamm in Bobst was closing in on the leaders  

LANZAROTE, Canary Islands -- An exciting finish is promised for the first leg of the Regatta Rubicon as the leaders head to Yaiza on the island of Lanzarote.

Frenchman Rolain Jourdain in the 1999 Marc Lombard-designed Open 60 Sill Plein Fruit has fought a tenacious battle to hold the lead ahead of Briton Ellen MacArthur's Kingfisher.

In the early part of the race, which started from Lorient, France on May 11, pre-race favourite Jourdain held off Italian Simone Bianchetti in Tiscali Global Challenge. As Bianchetti faded back into fifth place, MacArthur and Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group Armor Lux took up the chase.

Stamm made a daring move on the third day, splitting from the fleet by heading further west into the Atlantic. At one stage he was more than 190 miles behind the leaders and 120 miles further west. But he then benefited from more wind and a faster sailing angle to close the gap to MacArthur and Jourdain.

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'It's going great here," said Stamm. "For us, the only slow period was when the wind died to 14 or 15 knots. We've had good wind all the way. We're under large spinnaker, and have had up to 27 knots of wind."

The Regata Rubicon, the first offshore race of the Open 60 monohull season, is a fully crewed contest for the 60-foot monohulls that are usually associated with single-handed racing.

The new two-leg race takes the fleet into the Mediterranean from St. Nazaire, France, to Santa Margherita, on the west coast of Italy, via the Canary Islands off the north west coast of Africa.

The 1,280-mile first leg goes across the Bay of Biscay and down to Yaiza on the Canary Island of Lanzarote. The second 1,465-mile leg

bringing the fleet into the Mediterranean starts on May 20.

Total prize money for the race is 76,200 euros.

Regata Rubicon Friday positions

  • 1 Sill Plein Fruit (Roland Jourdain French)
  • 2 Kingfisher (Ellen MacArthur British)
  • 3 Bobst Group-Armor Lux (Bernard Stamm French)
  • 4 Virbac (Jean-Pierre Dick French)
  • 5 Tiscali Global Challenge (Simone Bianchetti Italian)
  • 6 L'Heautonti Moroumenos (Antoine Koch French)
  • 7 Temenos (Dominique Wavre Swiss)


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