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17 March 2005, 12:02 pm
Chasing Teams Make Gains On BP Explorer
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

Imagine It. Done. has begun to close the gap on the leader whilst Spirit of Sark has taken fourth place and is now just one nautical mile behind Barclays Adventurer in third.

'We've had quite a windy night… lots of bodies being washed down the foredeck and sails going up and down! Things have settled down a bit now though and people are just enduring the wet and cold conditions.'

Dee CAFFARI (GBR), skipper of Imagine It. Done. describes the rough ride last night as winds averaged 35 knots with gusts up to 45, a problem with a leech line and a lack of steady breeze making hard work for the crew.

'It's all entertainment,' she joked, 'not that the boys [foredeck crew] would agree with that this morning, they are all a bit battered and bruised!'

The winds have backed to the southwest and built in strength allowing the fleet to head north towards the all-important waypoint. For the crew of Imagine It. Done. their recent strong performance not only keeps them at the head of the leaderboard just 10nm behind BP Explorer, but it has also motivates everyone on board.

'It's definitely really focused everybody,' said Dee, 'and everyone's desire to keep the pressure on and keep working at it is so good it's been great for morale. We knew we could sail the boat and now we're pointing it in the right direction as well - we're showing everybody what we believed we could do all along.'

Spirit of Sark has also continued their healthy run, overtaking Team Stelmar to move into fourth place. They are also now only one nautical mile behind third place Barclays Adventurer and posing an immediate threat.

SAIC La Jolla, one of the most northerly teams, has relegated BG SPIRIT, now the furthest south, to ninth. Eero LEHTINEN (FIN) and his crew are now only 15nm behind Samsung in seventh. Navigator John WILKINSON (GBR) reported this morning: 'We don't really see a lot of tactical openings between here and [Waypoint] Bravo,' a sentiment echoed by much of the fleet, all now fighting to get to the mark as fast as possible, approximately 630nm from the lead yachts at the 0742 GMT poll.

As for current conditions after a busy night, the winds have already veered to just north of west this morning.

Dan Wedgwood (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Spirit of Sark:© Challenge Business
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