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23 March 2005, 05:42 pm
Spirit of Sark Leads
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

Spirit of Sark has overtaken Imagine It. Done. to head the fleet on leg four of the Global Challenge. Meanwhile VAIO has taken a flyer to the northwest in a gamble that has taken them over 200nm north of the fleet.
This afternoon VAIO are approximately 215nm north of Me to You; the team furthest north of the eleven yachts taking a conventional westerly route. VAIO navigator Pat GREEN, phoned in this afternoon saying, 'We're trucking along at a nice speed and trying to get warm again.'

When questioned about their bold move away from the fleet, GREEN explained: 'If you take Waypoint Bravo as a halfway point, this is a game of two halves and we're taking a bit of a gamble. If we follow the rest of the fleet we'll end up in a drag race so we thought we needed to do something different. We're a bit of a gambling crew, and this is our attempt at doing something different and improving our situation.'

And GREEN added that the decision was made as a crew, saying: 'We have a tactical team who talk about these decisions initially, and then we all discuss it.'

Currently heading northwest in a light breeze from the south, the wind is forecast to head them as it gradually backs to the west-northwest and builds, heading them in the process. Just how far north they are prepared to sail will depend on the development of the high-pressure systems dominating the area.

Spirit of Sark skipper Duggie GILLESPIE (GBR) called in this afternoon, understandably happy about his team's progress through the rankings after a frustrating spell last week.

'About a week ago we really did have a bad session,' he explained, 'we could not get going and all the boats were passing us, it was hard times for the crew and certainly for myself... We've worked really hard and we're really chuffed to be up at the front and long may it continue, but we know there's another good two weeks to go and absolutely anything can happen. Things have already changed so much and they can all change again - there's areas of light wind and such-like coming up, but that's what yacht racing is all about.'

They are still in first place this afternoon, but only 3nm ahead of second place Imagine It. Done. and the breeze from the north will soon back to the west and become light. Dangerous times for Spirit of Sark at the front of the fleet - light winds often provide an opportunity for chasing teams to make up ground.

Dan Wedgwood (As Amended By ISAF). Image, VAIO:© Challenge Business
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