White Ocean Racing

May 18 - Steve's blog Number 7.

News from the north.

Well I must admit in some ways it has been nice not to have the position reports, but now they are back- you know and we know where we are now! I had convinced myself that I was at the back, it was only a question of by how much. I have had a bit of a time of it - every time I convinced myself to tack, it was fine for a few minutes whilst the wind gods lured me into a false sense of security, the breeze shifted again and I was once again on the wrong tack! What with that and being further North than Father Christmas's back garden had convinced me that my position was not good, so imagine my surprise when I returned from the en suite this morning to a better result than expected!

On the plus side, every time you tack you have to re-stack gear and sails (I had three on deck but did a deal with myself, and now I have only two!) which weigh a ton when they get soggy - there are shiny trails in the deck where I have been polishing the paint on the deck by dragging them from side to side - anyway, I digress, the plus side is that my fat stomach has moved uphill by about 12 inches - no that does not mean I now have a fat chest instead, I am getting back into shape! I have only been sailing three times this year, (there just has not been the time whilst we looked for sponsors in addition to bluQube) - Gosport to Weymouth, the qualifier and now the race, so its not surprising I had gone to seed!

I had a good chat with a ship yesterday, the Montreal Express, a massive containership bound for Antwerp. He came flying across in front of me doing 20.3 knots and then a very polite foreign gentleman called up on the VHF just to check if I was OK, I told him what we were up to and asked him to watch out for the others. "Are you in the lead?" he asked, "I've not seen any other yachts", "Not quite" I replied, "it's just that I'm the only one daft enough to be this far North!"

Kim amused me as well yesterday. I thought I'd try and rationalise my food. I rummaged around in my boxes and found all sorts of stuff. Ah, great, pesto I though, two pots in a bag, on the bag was written "Pesto, add pasta" Lucky she warned me, might have had it on biscuits or something instead, then I found a box marked "Eggs, fragile", and thought she really must think I'm daft! I think she's probably right! I love her really, lots infact!

On the psychological front I achieved a couple of little milestones, firstly, I got to grips with the GPS which is totally non logical, and I have added a waypoint for which we are now headed called ICEGAT (I can only have 6 letters!). When I get additional sponsors for the Vendee Globe this GPS can follow most of my other possessions and go the e-bay way and I shall have a new one that I can operate! Secondly, and more importantly, I have changed the engine control over from the one in the cockpit that makes the boat go ahead and astern and fast and slow so you can drive the thing, to a pure throttle control downstairs so I can adjust the revs from down here for charging batteries and pumping water ballast. That is only significant to me because it means I am offshore with the boat at long last, not as has been the case for two years where we have always been on short trips and only a few hours away from a marina and needing the engine for propulsion in or out.

Anyway, time for breakfast once again, as we are now going along nicely in vaguely the right direction!

Sebastien Josse and Unai Basurko retire.

Sebastien Josse, who was leading in BT, had to retire owing to damage to the upper mainsail carriage on Saturday 17 May. A repair would have required climbing the mast but stormy weather conditions made this task too dangerous. Unai Basurko (Pakea Bizkaia) also had issues in the weather conditions that led to his retirement. Spirit of Weymouth is now 10th out of 10 boats.

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