White Ocean Racing

Reports 3 February

3 February - All wind and sails.

Audio Clip courtesy Trigone/VendeeGlobe

3 February - Blog 24 - Warm tranquility and thoughts of home.

If you went on holiday and the weather was like it has been here over the past few days you would not be disappointed - it has been glorious. The water is just the right temperature for bathing babies, the sun is very strong and right overhead at midday, and the breeze is warm and pleasant at night when you go out to look at the stars. I think this must be where the baby flying fish live - I have not seen any that are bigger than half grown but thre are hundreds of them. Birds are a different matter - just one for a hours only as he flew just ahead of the boat looking for flying fish with his beady eye; he was greeny brown with a pointy tail and beak like a needle and about three quaters the size of a gannett. Since then, nothing, no visible company at all.

I have been busy however. The generator needed fiddling with again because as the water and hence the batteries get warmer the way they charge changes, and if you're not careful the generator is overcharging like mad and my nice rectangular batteries are about to become cooked into shapes like egg boxes! A blocked fuel filter was complicating the process of setting it up; I must have had a really dirty fill of fuel from somwhere, but it's OK now. I changed generator engine oil and stopped the water leak from the engine exhaust, so we are a bit drier downstairs now which is a good thing.

It is difficult to sleep at the moment - you can only really turn in a couple of hours after dark as it has just about cooled off enough by then, and as all the hatches are open I get a bit of breeze over the top of my bunk coming through the companionway bulkhead hatch from the back of the boat. It is not easy to eat normally either - I have my porridge and a cup of tea just after first light when it's still cool, but I am really short of cold things to eat - it's hard to summon up the enthusiasm for two hundred and fifty grams of pasta and sauce when it's this hot! However, I'm hardly burning three thousand calories a day or whatever it's supposed to be just moving around and keeping warm like you do in the Southern Ocean!

It is strange to think about my position in the race at the moment. I have to be careful what I say as I haven't finished yet, but if you'd have told me before the start that I'd be in eigth place at any point I'd have said it you were mad - it is more than ten places better than my wildest dreams! I think it is a reflection on how strong and simple the boat is as much as anything though. It is really sad about Bilou after he came to within a stones throw of the finish and had to stop, but he did the right thing and he'll be back in 2012 I'm sure.

Personally I don't feel any different after my adventures but I am looking forward to getting home now and wearing my slippers by the fire, walking the dogs, bike riding with the kids, and getting set up for the future with renewed energy after my adventures, it's just that the South Atlantic doesn't want to release us without a fight.........still, four days to the North East Trades, steady sailing and the last ocean to cross! Keep your fingers crossed for an easy crossing of the Doldrums for us.

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