Steve GUSH, an IT Director from Edinburgh, and core-crew on Imagine It. Done., writes, 'Job one was thanking the hard work the team from Hoods sailmakers have done transforming our sails to a great condition ready to face the Southern Ocean. As the crew were away over the last week enjoying themselves the guys from Hoods have worked non-stop on the fleet's sails.
Yesterday morning we put our main sail back on and all the headsails stowed back in the sail locker, we once again look and feel like a race yacht.'
The yachts have also been out sailing again over the past few days, entertaining corporate clients and their guests to give them a taste of life on an ocean-going race yacht.
Richard PARSON, a company director from Plymouth and core crew-member of Team Stelmar, writes, 'with just a few days now until the start of the second leg, Team Stelmar was on the water today once again. We have been hosting some guests of Team Stelmar and had a corporate day, sailing on the river. The sun shone, the wind strength ranged from 15-20 knots and just occasionally, a little water splashed over the bow.' Evidently conditions in the River Plate are slightly less dramatic than those experienced just a few weeks ago!
Farewell dinners were hosted last night for BP Explorer, BG SPIRIT and Barclays Adventurer -a last opportunity to say thank you to sponsors, local hosts and of course friends and family.
Who's the new favourite?
With the results for the first leg now confirmed, Bookmaker William Hill has revised the odds for the Global Challenge 2004/5, which now look like this:
3/1 Barclays Adventurer
5/1 BG SPIRIT
6/1 BP Explorer
8/1 Spirit of Sark
10/1 SAIC La Jolla
16/1 Team Stelmar
20/1 Imagine It. Done.
25/1 Me To You
66/1 Team Save the Children
Each Way 1/5 Place 1-2-3
These revised odds see almost a reversal of previous predictions. The shortest odds are now on the first three yachts over the line - Barclays Adventurer, Samsung and VAIO. Both Samsung and VAIO lay 10th and 11th respectively in the previous assessment, evidently not quite on the bookie's radar. This means that previous front-runner Spirit of Sark has been shunted into 6th place with odds going from 5/1 to 8/1. Likewise, BP Explorer and SAIC La Jolla now find their odds lengthened.
As Graham SHARPE, Media Relations Director at William Hill, explains, 'It's a bit like the Grand National in that initially the odds are based on information available before the event, but then when a race is underway - you can 'bet in running' which gives altered odds based on how the horses are performing.'
There has been world-wide interest, says Graham, and thousand of bets place on the Race including some quite interesting and revealing bets: a handsome £1000 on Spirit of Sark to win, another sizeable bet for £500 each way on Me To You, and another £500 riding on BG SPIRIT. The odds will close before the start of leg 2 and will then be revised and opened again once the fleet arrives in Wellington.