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1 April 2005, 05:03 pm
Spirit Of Sark Making Small But Significant Gains On Imagine It. Done.
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

Skipper and crew aboard Imagine It. Done. are bracing themselves for an excruciatingly tense final phase to leg four as they fight to protect their position at the top of the table.
They have been in first place for just over two weeks, maintaining a consistently high performance to keep Spirit of Sark (in second) and BP Explorer (third) at bay. Now only 725nm separates them from the first place result the team sees as just rewards for their efforts.

'I think the position we hold right now is a product of three, and now nearly four legs worth of hard work and hard lessons learned,' writes Peter GERMAN (NZL), Core Crew Volunteer aboard Imagine It. Done.

'What is required now is a final week that simply does not let up. A week in which we pay attention to the details of sail trim and choice and do not assume anything is done until we cross the line in Cape Town.'

'We begrudge every gain Spirit of Sark makes, and take heart from any distance we make on them, but the talk is always of needing a larger gap to negotiate the last 700 miles approaching Cape Town with a bit more of a buffer.'

Second place Spirit of Sark is now only 7nm behind Imagine It. Done., which equates to approximately 1% of the racecourse left to run. A margin so small is no guarantee and the absence of a 'buffer' zone means every mile counts.

The sprint to the finish line will be made even more intense by a downwind run in light to medium airs. The fleet is currently in light airs from the southwest, but the wind will continue to back, eventually swinging behind the yachts, as a large high-pressure system ridges in from the west.

There is a possibility the system will split into two separate cells east and west of the South African coast, leaving the Cape Town area with light and variable conditions.

After such a long leg teams are beginning to feel like they are almost there, but the final stage will be critical to the final leaderboard positions as mental and physical fatigue sets in. GERMAN is well aware that there is still work to do, despite being so close:

'It is a question of making the effort despite being utterly drained of energy, one more time, to lug that sail up into the teeth of a 30 knot blast, swallow the sea water that scythes across your face, spit the rest back and go on.'

Dan Wedgwood. Image, BP Explorer:© Challenge Business
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