Crews aboard the Global Challenge yachts heading for the finish line spent last night avoiding the busy shipping lanes in the Channel. Dee Caffari from Imagine it. Done. reports

Date 15 July 2005

Location Western Approaches

Weather Sunny

Heading To Plymouth UK

Skipper’s Comments

Fun and games ensued last night as we floated at the exit of an opposing lane of traffic at Ushant’s TSS. As the fleet approached waypoint 8, the Western Approaches, it became becalmed. This was the chance we, aboard Imagine it. Done, needed to catch the front group.

The breeze was very fickle and inconsistent. The only movement the yachts had was from the tide. The tide was very strong and was sweeping us into the opposing lane of traffic. As a fleet we spoke to Ushant Traffic Control, they were very clear in stating that we must stay out of the TSS at all costs. These rules are for the crew and yacht’s safety, as although the coastguard put out a security message for the fleet being present at the end of the shipping lane, we are still very hard to see from the bridge of a container ship.

Fortunately, we all managed to stay clear of the TSS and the new breeze came in from the north-west, so unfortunately for us the front group got into the consistent new breeze ahead of us and pulled away again. We have an unknown course ahead of us and it does have the potential to be a drag race from here to the finish line tomorrow. However, the breeze is relatively light and anything can happen, so we shall keep plugging away at it trying to capitalise on yesterday’s hard work and increase the gap between us and the yachts astern, and try to claw back some miles to the leaders.

We will be heading across to the Eddystone Lighthouse off Plymouth after the next waypoint which will allow us to become close the UK coast for the first time since we waved goodbye to it in 35 knots of breeze back on start day, last October.

Now is to be our last 30 hours of racing in the Global Challenge and everyone will push really hard, and I will expect to be able to see my fellow competitors around me as the sunshine that is forecast burns through the haze that has settled around us.