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27 April 2003, 09:58 pm
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Round Britain Challenge
Round Great Britain

There is a zig zag blur occurring down the East Coast of Britain. If you look closer you will notice it is actually the fleet of the Round Britain Challenge, swapping positions and playing the wind game, eager to snap up a podium place.
In an exhausting game of cat and mouse the leaders in the Round Britain Challenge are by no means confirmed as the fleet charge through the precarious assault course of sand banks and oil rigs of the North Sea.

Earlier today The Daily Telegraph stormed into second place, behind the front-runner, Spirit of Southampton as the fleet split. However this afternoon's poll has revealed they are back down to fourth as the yachts bunch up, once again, in a nail-biting race where anything could happen.

The split in the fleet seen earlier today produced wind for both camps as the fleet race down along the East Coast. However, tactics again look divided as Spirit of Southampton takes more of an Easterly Route, chased hot on the heels by The Daily Telegraph whereas the rest of the fleet look like they're heading further out. So, once again positions could change in the next few hours.

Logica CMG is back up to second place, 25 miles behind the leader with their familiar shadow, BG Group, now lying in third position just three miles behind them.

Basilica is leading the middle runners in fifth place with Spirit of Hong Kong currently enjoying a favourable five-mile lead over their neck and neck rivals from this morning, Vail Williams. Team Spirit is back in last place although they have made up considerable miles in the last 24 hours and, has been demonstrated consistently in this event, the race is by no means overfor any of the yachts.

The fleet has now started to thaw out after their experiences of Muckle Flugga, which saw them battle biting winds and freezing conditions. Mark Taylor, skipper of Team Spirit, describes how: "despite the discomfort the crew were awe inspired by the power and beauty of the seas."

The leading yacht, Spirit of Southampton's skipper, James Allen expressedtheir relief at having now passed this 'leg' of the race: "As we started to head south we found ourselves beating into a force 8 gale, it would seem after all the great weather we have had Scotland was not going to let us go without a small reminder of who is Boss."

However the pressure is still very much on for the team who recognise they can not rest on their laurels in this final burst home, as James continues: "It is great to have this lead but it also changes the game a little as we no longer have the other boats to measure our performance on, we have to keep driving the boat and waiting anxiously for the position reports. Only 2 or 3 days to go now I just hope we can keep it up."

Latest positions:

Spirit of Southampton (1) DTF (distance to finish) 503
LogicaCMG (2) DTF 528
BG Group (3) DTF 531
The Daily Telegraph (4) DTF 537
Basilica (5) DTF 553
Spirit Of Hong Kong (6) DTF 564
Vail Williams (7) DTF 569
Team Spirit (8) DTF 593

Rachel Anning
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