Team, Silk Cut battle for 4th position Chessie update

October 01, 1997|By Peter Baker

Chessie Racing, the Baltimore-Annapolis entry in the Whitbread, has been sailing comfortably in 4th place as the fleet of 10 looks ahead to the Doldrums, passing the Equator and entering the South Atlantic.

In recent days, Chessie and Silk Cut, the British entry skippered by Lawrie Smith, have been fighting over 4th and 5th places, with Chessie settled in 4th.

"If someone told me we would be in a gybing duel in the middle of the Atlantic with Silk Cut after a week of racing, I wouldn't have believed them," Chessie watch captain Grant Spanhake reported.

According to Spanhake, the level of intensity aboard Chessie has not diminished since the start in Southampton, England, on Sept. 21, and the battle with Silk Cut has kept the crew sharp as it chases the front-runners, Kvaerner Innovation (Norway), Merit Cup (Monaco) and EF Language (Sweden).

"I am sure the other crews are working just as hard as we are to make any gain possible before the Doldrums," Spanhake said. "It will be interesting to see how long this intensity will last."

According to reports, the Chessie crew is taking an easterly course around a high pressure system, hoping to build a significant lead on Silk Cut and perhaps gain on the front-runners.

"We will know in a few days whether our plan has worked," Spanhake said.

Pub Date: 10/01/97

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