Lewis quick to apply pressure

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A speedy 612 miles in 24 hours helped the American Cam Lewis keep up the pressure yesterday on the leader of The Race, the New Zealander Grant Dalton and his French-based boat Club Med.

A speedy 612 miles in 24 hours helped the American Cam Lewis keep up the pressure yesterday on the leader of The Race, the New Zealander Grant Dalton and his French-based boat Club Med.

The run by Team Adventure was just 13 miles outside Dalton's world record and indicates there will be no let-up between these two sister-ship 109-foot catamarans as they encounter the huge, long swells of the Southern Ocean and watch for the first of its gale force weather systems.

The fast time by Team Adventure - at an average speed of 25.60 knots - came as the competitors made the most of the first depression encountered in the South.

Dalton said yesterday that Lewis had consistently been able to sail in slightly stronger wind while Club Med had been "bouncing around".

"We had a 200-mile lead a couple of nights ago; I suppose we paid part of it back in tax,'' said Dalton, who was, however, soon rushing along again at 27 to 32 knots.

"We are really getting across the ocean fast on this boat,'' he said. "We should get a real sleigh ride. We've stuck the bows in once, but it wasn't anything to make me think of changing my life insurance policy.''

The two are now 670 miles ahead of Loick Peyron, whose Innovation Express took longer to free itself from the southern Atlantic light winds.

The leaders in the Vendée Globe race are suffering from a session of slow winds in the same weather system. What had held up the leader, Michel Desjoyeaux, has also hit the chasing pack, at the head of which is Britain's Ellen MacArthur. She is still 339 miles behind, but 200 miles ahead of third-placed Marc Thiercelin.

Mike Golding climbed another place to 10th, and then overnight to ninth place. Ahead of him in eighth is the third Briton, Josh Hall.

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