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    Follow the Sydney Hobart online
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2002 Dec 22, 18:45 +1100

    Its almost time for the Sydney to Hobart again (from around mid-day on
    the 26th December, 11 hours ahead of GMT). This year the position of
    each of the 57 yachts can be tracked online at the race's official
    website www.rolexsydneyhobart.com . Every 10 minutes transmitters on
    each boat will send latitude and longitude info to the Inmarsat maritime
    satellite system and is then posted on the website. This information
    will also be converted to a text report listing overall placings,
    distance to the finish and each boat's progressive time.
    'There will be an icon of each yacht on the chart' says one of the
    site's producers 'You can click on any one, bring up a profile on it and
    its crew, the captain and its navigator'
    Although the navigator remains an important member of the crew their
    role is more one of tactician, the important question is less 'where are
    we?' and more 'where should we be?'.
    Although this real-time data has to wait for the race to begin there is
    lots of other stuff there already.
    The boat I'll be rooting for is 'Berrimilla', at 34 foot one of the
    smallest entrants, and its all personal bias - its a boat I've sailed
    on. This race began just after WW11 when a few mates decided to make a
    race out of their cruise down to Tasmania in the holidays. In the early
    days they went without radios and experiments were made with carrier
    pigeons as a means of sending out information. Boats like 'Berrimilla'
    are (just) keeping alive that tradition of amateur sailors without huge
    budgets competing for the fun of it and the challenge. The huge maxis
    will do the 600 odd nautical miles in a few days; Alex and his crew,
    with a maximum speed of 6 knots, will take twice as long.

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