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5 May 2005, 05:00 pm
Advantage Swinging To The East
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

BP Explorer are neck a neck with SAIC La Jolla having hauled in this morning's leaders. It is still incredibly tight at the front with just seven miles covering the first five boats.

Spirit of Sark's Jason MCLEOD (IRL) wrote that sailing in sight of other teams in such close proximity to one another will, 'make the boat on boat work brilliant but stressful.'

SAIC La Jolla appear to have sailed just far enough north to remain in the same winds as their nearest competitors up to this point. However, the 24-hours run figures are a stark indicator of recent performance, and SAIC La Jolla, Samsung and Team Save the Children, the teams furthest west and south, had sailed approximately 30nm less than the majority of the fleet on Wednesday. They may continue to suffer if the other teams have managed to escape the lightest winds nearer the centre of the system currently situated just south of the fleet.

In first, yesterday afternoon, Team Stelmar are now level with Spirit of Sark in third place, but only 4nm behind the leaders. They are at the head of the pack of five taking the middle line who have now moved north in an attempt to skirt the centre of the high-pressure system. To the east BG SPIRIT and Imagine It. Done. have also headed north, and recorded the highest 24-hour runs, so the advantage looks to be swinging in their favour. SAIC La Jolla and Samsung appear to be holding their course to the west and every team is now eagerly waiting for the wind to fill in from the southeast.

'Whichever group of yachts gets out of [the light conditions] first will have the advantage with the remaining groups of yachts in danger of staying parked,' wrote Spirit of Sark skipper Duggie GILLESPIE (GBR), currently level with Team Stelmar.

Although the current light airs will be frustrating, reports from the yacht are consistently describing the enjoyable sailing, flat downwind conditions, and easier general living conditions on board, which extends to every aspect of every day life, from cooking to personal hygiene. 'In fact the sailing is so good now,' wrote Charles TYE (GBR) aboard Me to You, 'that the Southern Ocean almost has pleasant memories and people talk fondly of it as if they enjoyed it.'

Dan Wedgwood (As Amended By ISAF). Image, SAIC La Jolla:© Challenge Business
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