Dee Caffari's lead threatened with just 900 miles to go

Imagine It. Done. skippered by Dee Caffari is still leading Leg 4 of the Global Challenge on the final 900-mile stretch to Cape Town but in the extremely light conditions Duggie Gillespie and crew aboard Spirit of Sark are closing up and are now just nine miles astern.

Having led for the majority of the leg, Caffari is not surprisingly concerned about the current situation. Chatting from the boat this morning Caffari expressed her frustration commenting: “We’re getting stuck in every wind hole possible. That was not in the plan or the weather file. We’re feeling very frustrated and can only hope that Spirit of Sark and BP Explorer [in third] get their own wind holes to sit in.” “It’s been soul destroying and we definitely have no fingernails left. As each sched comes in the crew await the verdict. Have we lost miles or gained miles? Since we have had less than 1,000 miles to go, the crew’s joy has subsided because we have been luring the competition ever closer just to make life really exciting all the way to the finish. One thing about this race is that you cannot take anything for granted.

“We have been sailing from one wind hole to another. As the wind dies and the boat speed drops slower and slower and we change sails yet again until we have run out of options to fly. I cannot help but think the worst. Is this our own personal wind hole and while we wallow in the swell, is Spirit of Sark sailing along happily unaware of our trauma? We have had a dying breeze coming from all angles so that we have changed from a Yankee 2 through the sails to a Genoa and then we have flown the spinnaker just trying to keep the boat moving.

“After a traumatic couple of hours the boat speed builds again and some wind returns and we make the best course we can to Cape Town. Only to see the same episode develop a few hours later and again we point in every direction possible, try every sail combination possible and just start praying that the other yachts will be sailing into this little hole behind us. We are all too aware how easy it is for a yacht right alongside us to have differing breeze.

So this morning we have had gusty conditions that make the sail plan difficult to decide, but at least there has been consistent breeze even if it has differed in strength.

Our plan is to increase the lead and not let it diminish because I am not sure that my stress levels can withstand that for the last few days to Cape Town.”

The current ETA in Cape Town is between 5-9 April.

Current positions

1 Imagine It. Done. S 39° 52′ E 35° 11′ 906 miles to finish

2 Spirit of Sark S 40° 21′ E 35° 10′ 915 miles to finish 9 miles to leader

3 BP Explorer S 40° 12′ E 35° 31′ 927 miles to finish 21 miles to leader

4 Pindar S 40° 37′ E 36° 13′ 965 miles to finish 59 miles to leader

5 Team Stelmar S 40° 19′ E 36° 24′ 967 miles to finish 61 miles to leader

6 Barclays Adventurer S 40° 28′ E 37° 38′ 1,024 miles to finish 118 miles to leader

7 SAIC La Jolla S 40° 53′ E 37° 36′ 1,030 miles to finish 124 miles to leader

8 Samsung S 41° 16′ E 37° 48′ 1,045 miles to finish 139 miles to leader

9 Me To You S 41° 2′ E 38° 27′ 1,069 miles to finish 163 miles to leader

10 BG SPIRIT S 41° 25′ E 38° 52′ 1,093 miles to finish 187 miles to leader

11 Team Save the Children S 41° 26′ E 42° 23′ 1,247 miles to finish 341 miles to leader

12 VAIO S 39° 28′ E 46° 19′ 1,407 miles to finish 501 miles to leader