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1 March 2005, 02:54 pm
Imagine It. Done. Heads Three-Way Fight For The Lead
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

BP Explorer and Barclays Adventurer are both 1nm behind and threatening the frontrunner. 'As of Tuesday lunchtime our positioning in the fleet is still looking good,' writes Kate BROCK from Imagine It. Done., 'and we find ourselves in the unusual position of seeing boats behind our stern.'
In fact they now have the whole fleet astern of them, having moved into first place this morning. Writing about their improved fleet position in comparison with Leg Three, Kate continued, 'Long may that continue as it's a much happier feeling than watching them pull away ahead!'

Dee CAFFARI and her crew are only just clinging to the lead though - BP Explorer and Barclays Adventurer are both 1nm behind them, most probably visible on their stern.

Team Save the Children are in fourth, 9nm off the pace, followed by BG SPIRIT in fifth and 14nm behind and Me To You, who were leading the fleet at the 01:42 GMT poll, are in sixth, currently 17nm behind Imagine It. Done.

The fleet leaders are now northeast of Tasmania, at current speeds they will reach the Tasman Peninsula in less than 24 hours, where Tasmania and all outlying rocks and islands must be left to starboard. Then they will head to the final waypoint, Maatsuyker Island, before the expanse of the Southern Ocean opens up ahead of them.

The weather ahead will leave the crews in no doubt that the next few weeks will push them to their limits. Within 12 hours the high-pressure system in the Tasman Sea will move off to the east, opening the door for the westerlies to move in from the west.

Another high-pressure system ridging east just south of Australia will result in a sharp gradient between the two weather systems, intensifying the wind strength and speed, and also causing the wind to back to the west-southwest. The fleet will be sailing down the east coast of Tasmania with the relative protection of the landmass at this point. But by the time they reach its southern tip and enter the uninterrupted path of wind barrelling across the Southern Ocean, they will be firmly in the Roaring Forties, so-called because of the strong westerly winds which prevail in those latitudes.
Dan Wedgewood (as amended by ISAF)
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