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4 April 2005, 04:44 pm
Imagine It. Done. Holds On
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2004/2005 Global Challenge

With Cape Town now only 229nm away Imagine It. Done. has ground out an 11nm lead over second place Spirit of Sark and led third place BP Explorer by 16nm this morning. The leading pack is completed by Team Stelmar a further 18nm back, with these four comfortably ahead of the chasers.

Pindar is in fifth, but they trail Imagine It. Done. by 106nm, so they will be hoping the infamously tricky approach to Cape Town slows the teams in front down.

'We have just crossed onto the Aghulus Bank and are now planning our strategy for the remaining 240 miles,' wrote Imagine It. Done. skipper Dee CAFFARI (GBR) this morning. 'The breeze looks set to remain for the day before dying out on us for the closing stages of the race. With a mountainous backdrop to Cape Town and the adjacent coastline, it makes wind shifts very fickle and wind shadows very apparent. The final negotiation along the coast could make a difference to any one of the leading yachts.'

In fact any one of the top four could very easily win this leg, and teams further down the leaderboard could still see their position altered on the final approach, making a huge difference to the overall standings. After 37 exhausting days at sea there is still no real respite for the teams. The conditions may not be violent or the seas mountainous as they have been during this leg, but the stress-levels involved in a nerve-wracking finish such as this will be wearing down skippers and crew alike.

'The breeze we currently have is very gusty,' continued DEE, 'making holding a spinnaker very difficult and poling out headsails too slow in the lulls. It is a difficult and tense time for all the crews. The sea state is much smoother and the Aghulus current running in a southwest direction is now finally abating.'

Imagine It. Done. in particular will be desperate to hang on to their position, having protected their first place spot from constant threat for so long. They have been in the lead for well over two weeks so losing out on the final stretch would be devastating. For the chasing teams edging past Imagine It. Done. in the dying stages and stealing the victory would be a dream finish to the leg and their relentless efforts to catch them.

'Maximising boat speed and keeping ourselves between Cape Town and the competition is the important goal at present,' reported DEE, well aware of their nearest rivals and the dangers. 'The final push will not be easy, as the stakes are rising all the time we are getting closer.'

Dan Wedgwood. Image, Imagine It. Done.:© Challenge Business
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