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25 May 2005, 02:00 pm
Trailing teams losing ground on the leading pack
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

Team Stelmar is the only team to have seen their position change overnight, overtaking VAIO to move into fourth place. Every other team in the leading pack of seven has remained a similar distance from first place SAIC La Jolla, who still command a lead of 14nm over second place BP Explorer.
The most significant movements on the leaderboard recently are unfortunately in the wrong direction for the teams at the foot of the table. Eleventh place Pindar and twelfth place Team Save the Children have suffered the most, both encountering light patches of wind yesterday while the leading pack marched on in steady winds.

'Now the wind has filled in for the guys up front,' said Pindar skipper Loz MARRIOTT, 'they are pulling away by 10-15 miles every six hours. At the moment we're sailing with eight knots of breeze and it's very light and variable and I know that the boats up front have got about 20 knots on the beam, so it's a bit of a dig!'

This morning's position report suggests Pindar is still floundering in light airs - maintaining an average speed four knots slower the majority of the fleet in the six hours preceding the poll.

Yesterday afternoon Team Save the Children were suffering the same fate, reporting an average of three knots of boat speed to the fleet's average of ten. The result will be difficult for the team to stomach, now 398nm behind the lead.

MARRIOTT admitted that, 'Keeping the morale going on the boat is quite a challenge.' And Team Save the Children are probably facing a similar challenge, not least because the conditions conspiring against any efforts to regain ground will leave a feeling of helplessness. Reports from the yachts during this leg have already described the frustration of losing ground in these situations, and the difficulty is compounded by the fact that light airs prompt another psychological hurdle - boredom.

'The thing about these conditions is there's not much to do other than sit on the rail and trim the boat through the light airs,' added MARRIOTT. As such, the teamwork developed on their way around the world will be in high demand in periods such as these.

Up at the front SAIC La Jolla is the only team to have ground out any daylight between themselves and the rest of the leading pack. The other teams are still searching for a way to shake off rivals only a few miles away in terms of distance to finish. 'Although we are distancing ourselves from those at the back,' wrote Kat WARD from fifth place VAIO this morning, 'the ones at the front are proving hard to catch. We're expecting light winds soon so hopefully we'll get some friendly clouds with wind and manage to shorten the distance to the leaders again.'

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF) Image, Team Stelmar made progress overnight:© Challenge Business
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