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4 March 2005, 02:24 pm
Imagine It. Done. And Barclays Adventurer Dead Level Again
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

The winds have eased for the fleet and backed to the west, after 40 knots from the northwest made for a dramatic first chapter in the Southern Ocean.
Team Save the Children, who turned back to Hobart so that injured crewman Adrian ALBRIGHTON (GBR) could be airlifted to hospital, are now 145nm from fleet leaders Imagine It. Done. and Barclays Adventurer who are still locked together in joint first position.

ALBRIGHTON, who was injured after an exceptionally large wave hit the yacht and it became airborne, is being treated in the Royal Hospital, Hobart. He dislocated and chipped several pieces of bone off his hip. The doctors in Tasmania have decided against an operation and are going to treat the injury with physiotherapy.

Up at the front, Imagine It. Done. and Barclays Adventurer are once again reporting exactly the same distance to the finish, now 5,301nm. The wind is now from the west, and easing off, probably to the relief of the crews given recent conditions which have been giving the boats a pounding in 40 knot winds.

The lead yachts have been following a very similar course, all heading approximately southwest in the westerly airflow. Unusually, the leaderboard positions have remained relatively stable as the teams match one another for boat speed in the same conditions. However the wind has already shifted from the northwest to west, due to a large high-pressure system moving in from the west. As the system continues east the wind will back further to the southwest, when teams will be faced with the decision to sail deeper south, or tack back up north.

The skill with which the teams judge the wind shift will be the key for maintaining their fleet position and the most important consideration is timing. The aim is to reduce the total distance sailed by minimizing the angle through which the boat tacks, choosing the most favourable tack for making progress towards the finish. 'The weather is now giving us a bit of a reprieve after nearly 48 hours of wind in excess of 40 knots,' said Barclays Adventurer skipper, Stuart JACKSON (GBR) this morning. 'The front passed through last night giving way to sunshine this morning. We are just waiting for the wind to back to the southwest and then tack.'

Indeed the whole fleet will now be waiting to make the move. The wind will be steady for the next couple of days, which will also come as a relief to the teams because consistent winds do not require so many physically draining sail changes. After the high winds, this will be a chance to regroup.

Dan Wedgwood (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Imagine it. Done races Barclays Adventurer in close quarters:© Challenge Business
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