Spirit of Sark's skipper, Duggie Gillespie reports on a curious incident in the night time during Leg Five of the Global Challenge

Close takes on a new meaning in this leg five of the Global Challenge, particularly tonight. I am fortunate to be the skipper of Spirit of Sark. We are fighting to gain as many places as possible. Every inch is fought for, every mistake highlighted and all of our energies are given to see where we can get up the rankings.

In the middle of the night we had just come out of a squall with two rivals Stelmar and BP Explorer close to hand. We were under spinnaker and BP Explorer, our closest competitor in this race, were under headsails. They were on a higher course and so we had to duck them. We turned away to pass behind with the bowman calling the shots.

We could see the detailed navigation instrument lights, the dark shadows of opponent crew on the deck. I knew it was going to be close but knew too that we had space of about a boat length.

Concerned souls on BP Explorer must have got very unnerved by this action and immediately shined a powerful spot light right in all our faces blinding the little vision we had. I took a very deep gulp. This situation was now getting out of hand with me unable to confirm our clearance.

Immediate full lock on the wheel and we slipped smoothly astern of the opposition. I was very relieved to clear but very annoyed at the unusual action of BP Explorer’s crew. It proved one thing – this race is going to be close.

Duggie Gillespie

Skipper, Spirit of Sark