Imagine It. Done still out in the lead
Imagine It. Done. skippered by Dee Caffari is still out in the lead in Leg 4 of the Global Challenge, having dominated most of the way in the toughest leg of the race.
Just 15 miles back and chasing hard is Duggie Gillespie’s crew aboard Spirit of Sark, closely followed by David Melville and his crew on BP Explorer – a further 15 miles behind again.
Speaking back in Portsmouth at race start Dee explained: “Sailing today is still male-dominated but there are many female skippers who are doing a lot of good things like Ellen MacArthur, Emma Richards and Tracey Edwards. They’re all putting female skippers on the map and enabling them to become much more accepted.
“Yes, I know that some people will be looking a little harder at me as I’m not one of the boys…in body…but I just see myself as one of the skippers doing the same role as everybody else!”
She will undoubtedly have silenced any critics she has had in the past that questioned her competitiveness. After a huge medical evacuation in the first Southern Ocean leg – where she very nearer lost one of her Crew Volunteers, John Masters – and a huge flyer in Leg 3 which cost her dearly, a win on this leg would push her right back up the race results leader board.
That possible win is ever closer with Cape Town less than a week away but as David Melville – one of Dee Caffari’ closest rivals – put it: “There are still 1,000 miles to go, further than the whole of leg 3. It may feel like we’ve broken the back of the leg but there’s still a long way to go.”
Right now the fleet are experiencing warmer northerly winds prior to the arrival of a cold front (approximately 6 hours away). As the front passes over the fleet the wind will back to the north west and then west.
Cal Tomlinson, Challenge Business’ Sailing Manager told us: “This will probably be the last ‘real’ westerly blow for the leg and they will soon be influenced by a high pressure system forming to the west of Cape Town, which will generate south westerly and then south easterly breeze which Cape Town is famous for. But, until then there is the small hurdle of this last strong westerly.”
Stuart Jackson, skipper of Barclays Adventurer explained how the weather was looking like from one of the sailor’s perspectives. He explained: “Things are looking pretty good on the weather front for the next few days too. We have another low heading in our direction, which is due to pass to the south of us.
“Therefore, currently the winds we are experiencing are northerly, these are due to continue for around 12 hours, when the cold front is due to pass over us. The characteristics of this will mean we’ll experience squally showers with winds around 30 – 40 knots, we will then have a large wind shift resulting in south westerly winds for the next couple of days. This will hopefully herald the end of our heavy weather sailing for this leg.”
However, this heavy weather has been keen to snare at least one last victim – SAIC La Jolla – who have experienced sail damage as Jim Walker expands: “We’ve had some repeat damage to the staysail in gusty conditions and it was back on the saloon table for repairs at breakfast yesterday. Luckily the damage was minor and the sail is now flying again. We’re continuing our pursuit of Barclays Adventurer who are currently 16 miles ahead, but with variable conditions forecast it should create some opportunity for us to claw back some of those miles.”
Currently more than 500 miles to the north east and sailing a completely different wind pattern is VAIO who are negotiating the eastern band of a small high-pressure system. They will encounter the same conditions as the remainder of the fleet but with a 24-hour delay.
The current ETA for the fleet into Cape Town is Monday afternoon local time.
Imagine It. Done 1,059(Distance to finish)
Spirit of Sark 15 (miles to leader)
BP Explorer 30
Team Stelmar 60
Barclays Adventurer 106
SAIC La Jolla 119
Me To You 168
BG SPIRIT 175
Team Save the Children 358
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