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10 February 2005, 12:05 pm
Stelmar and Spirit of Sark Neck and Neck
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2004/2005 Global Challenge
Wellington,NZL - Sydney, AUS

Team Stelmar and Spirit of Sark are dead level at the front of the fleet, both reporting a distance of 551nm to the finish - now past the halfway mark.
VAIO has slipped from first to tenth in one example of the wind shift's drastic effect on the leaderboard, although the fleet's proximity to one another means they are still only 7nm behind the new leader.

By the early hours of this morning (GMT) the wind had shifted round to the south and teams who had chosen to take a course further north on a steeper approach to the rhumb line had already started moving up the rankings.

After the advantage initially went to those further south after the shift, this morning the most southerly yachts are also the back markers of the fleet. The edge has clearly gone to those who made the early move further north. Imagine It. Done., the most northerly team, has moved from twelfth to fifth after what must have been a long wait for their position to come to fruition and BG SPIRIT, who looked set to take advantage of the wind shift from their position to the south of the fleet, actually ended up dropping from fourth to eleventh.

A change at the top of the leaderboard and a new wind direction, has been accompanied by a change in the weather, with showers and an overcast sky.

"Today we have had persistent rain," reported Jon READER from Samsung, and Dave GREENBERG, a legger aboard Imagine It. Done., also commented on the subsequent transformation of life on board: "For the better part of the last 30 hours we were heeled to port (leaning hard to the left), ramming through light to moderate seas (1-2 metres) with wind speeds around 20 knots. The heeling and ramming is relentless, affecting everything we do on board. Gone are the still air and seas."

But it seems that Dave welcomes the excitement that comes with stronger wind, and the opportunity for an experience that everyday life cannot provide: 'Overnight, another of my goals for this trip was met. Neil [Acworth] took me up to the foredeck to check trim on the sails, as waves came crashing over the deck. I was well outside my comfort zone as my feet struggled on the wet deck and waves kept crashing over the sides. But then, there I was, standing on the very front of the yacht as waves crashed on and around me. Very cool."

Throughout the race crew have reported the incredible highs and miserable lows that come with ocean racing, and Dave went on to experience his own rollercoaster of sorts. After having the time of his life on the bow of the yacht crashing through the waves, he started "getting a bit unwell for the first time" at the end of the watch. But he is by no means alone.

"We have all turned into land lubbers after a month in New Zealand," said Samsung's Jon READER, "as several of us started to turn green in what we would have perceived to be flat calm in the Southern Ocean!"

Report based on positions at 0742 GMT

Dan Wedgwood (As Amended by ISAF)
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