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22 June 2005, 05:14 pm
Top Eight Places Separated By Only Six Miles
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

Spirit of Sark is maintaining a narrow two mile lead at the head of a fairly static fleet, as the yachts remain on a straight line to Waypoint Charlie.
David MELVILLE (GBR), skipper of BP Explorer, gives an insight into the location of the fleet, 'We are just on the edge of the Grand Banks continental shelf and keep encountering little pockets of current - sometimes 0.5 knots with us and annoyingly for a while Tuesday afternoon, over one knot against us.'

He goes on to say, 'We have maps of the Gulf Stream which lies to the south and the warm water eddies which spin off it. Then there is the cold water Labrador Current that lies to the north and opposes us. There are a number of good websites which detail all of this, and maps downloaded before we left are spread all over the chart table'.

Samsung seem to be more focussed on just the direction of travel, Matt RIDDELL (AUS) sent in this report overnight, 'Tracking east just to the north of the rhumb line to stay in stronger winds without doing extra miles'. Imagine It. Done. have also reported that they are sailing straight for the waypoint, attempting to maximize boat speed.

Barclays Adventurer and Samsung are having their own race within a race, sailing within sight of one another. At 0742 hours GMT the two were also level in joint fourth place with Imagine It. Done. and BG SPIRIT in terms of nautical miles to the leader. Now BG SPIRIT has gained a couple of miles from being the furthest north yacht, and has moved into joint second place. Samsung have managed to pull ahead of Barclays Adventurer by just a mile, with Barclays Adventurer now level pegging with Team Stelmar, although it is still Samsung they can see ahead of them. Imagine It. Done. have dropped back 2nm, which puts them eighth, but still only a tiny 6nm behind the leader.

Imagine It. Done., Barclays Adventurer, Team Save the Children and VAIO have made a latitude change between polls, all heading at a slightly higher angle to the rhumb-line, which takes them a little further north, so it is possible that the four teams' current small losses on this poll could be translated into extra miles later from the more northerly position.

Overnight, the fleet have overtaken lone solo rower Olly HICKS, aboard Virgin Atlantic, who had requested via our race office that he would like to have a chat with the fleet via VHF, as he was feeling lonely! He is 28 days into his voyage to Falmouth, twice as long already as it will take the Challenge fleet to complete the entire distance! Kat WARD on VAIO reported, 'He seemed in good spirits, and had made 30 miles or so yesterday. We talked about food, wine, sunsets and going mad'.

'We tried him again this morning but he was out of range - he said his radio isn't working too well. All on board very glad we aren't rowing across!'

Kerry Dye. Image, BG SPIRIT settle back into the racing routine:© Challenge Business
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